Texas Gov. Rick Perry (Tyler Morning Telegraph)
Challengers to incumbent Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry are seizing on the planned Trans-Texas Corridor as a major campaign issue.
The 600-mile mega-highway from the Oklahoma border to Mexico is one section of a larger transportation network seen by some critics as part of a movement to integrate the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
The exact route of the highway has not been set, but it is expected to cut a quarter-mile wide swath through the state, employing as many as six lanes for cars and four for trucks, the Associated Press reports. It also will include railroad tracks, oil and gas pipelines, water and other utility lines, and broadband cables.
The stretch through Texas, running parallel to Interstate 35, would be the first link in a 4,000-mile, $184 billion network. Supporters say the corridors are needed to handle the expected NAFTA-driven boom in the flow of goods to and from Mexico.
But as WND has reported, opposition is mounting to a little-publicized effort by the Bush administration to push North America into a European Union-style merger.
The contractors building the Trans-Texas Corridor have made large contributions to the campaigns of Texas politicians, including Perry.
The transportation plan, proposed by Perry in 2002, has been a major focus of the campaign as rivals – including Democrat Chris Bell and independents Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman – call it a “$184 billion boondoggle” and a “land grab” of historic proportions, the AP said.
Strayhorn calls the plan the “Trans-Texas Catastrophe” and has dubbed Perry’s appointees on the transportation commission “highway henchmen.”
“Texans want the Texas Department of Transportation, not the European Department of Transportation,” she says to enthusiastic response on the campaign trail, according to the AP.
Perry’s spokesman, Robert Black, says his opponents are spreading bad information.
“The governor recognizes the concerns that rural Texans have. Remember, he’s from rural Texas,” Black said.
Some opponents, including many Texas farmers are concerned about property rights, but many point to the project’s foreign control. It’s being built and operated by a U.S.-Spanish consortium, Cintra-Zachry. Opponents also point out part of the contract with the firm is secret.
A state attorney general has ruled the Cintra-Zachry contract be made public, but Perry’s administration has gone to court to prevent the disclosure of what is says is proprietary information.
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