January 7, 2009
The Trans-Texas Corridor, as a name and as a guiding concept of the state’s transportation future, is dead, Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director Amadeo Saenz told an audience of more than a thousand people Tuesday at an Austin hotel. But Saenz acknowledged that all elements of the original plan, including a tollway twin to Interstate 35, could be built as stand-alone projects if and when they are deemed necessary.
Gov. Rick Perry in 2002 unveiled with great fanfare the corridor plan as an almost $200 billion blueprint for the state’s transportation future and then took withering criticism for it in a tough 2006 re-election race. On Tuesday, he said, “The days of the Trans-Texas Corridor are over.”
Critics of the corridor plan and TxDOT officials differed Tuesday over whether the body is truly cold and what would constitute the death of the proposed network of cross-state tollways, railways and utility lines. Planning and environmental studies of the twin to I-35, which would run from San Antonio to Oklahoma, and of I-69 , from Brownsville to Texarkana, will not stop, officials said.
And Perry, talking to reporters while in Iraq on a brief visit to Texas troops there, said, “We really don’t care what name they attach to building infrastructure in the state of Texas. The key is we have to go forward and build it.”