TXDOT Does Away With Trans-Texas Corridor

Texans pride themselves on doing everything big, but one proposed transportation project was just too big for some to take.

TXDOT announced that it is doing away with the Trans Texas Corridor as we know it. TXDOT officials say the opposition was just too strong, but the idea of a corridor is not going away.

In 2002, Governor Rick Perry proposed a multi-use transportation system about four-thousand miles long. It is designed to move people and freight more safely through Texas.

The I-35 portion of the Trans Texas Corridor would have connected Mexico to Oklahoma. The I-69 corridor was later developed to go right through East Texas. It was designed to eventually connect Mexico to Canada.

"That's what we are talking about, connecting the economies of Canada and the U.S. to Mexico, together with this highway infrastructure," said Tom Mullins, president of the Tyler Economic Development Council.

He said he has always supported the I-69 corridor but understands why the "T-T-C" was so unpopular.

"I think the Trans-Texas Corridor concept scared a lot of people," said Mullins. "It was brand new corridors being carved out of land that is already occupied by Texans."

TXDOT says much of the T-T-C will still be built; just in smaller segments close to 600 feet wide. For example, the I-69 corridor will be called, just that, I-69. TXDOT also says it wants local officials and citizens to be more involved in the planning of these major corridors. Which is something local officials agree with.

"We all feel, and I think the house and senate and governor understand, a great need to get a permanent fix to our highway structure and move forward in getting these projects done," said Bill Stoudt, a Gregg County Judge.

Now, it's up to the state to find an effective and fair way to fund these new roads, some believe a growing Texas needs.

Senator Robert Nichols served as chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission when the Trans Texas Corridor was introduced.

He has issued a statement saying, "Most of the issues concerning the Trans-Texas Corridor in East Texas are resolved. The state is committed to follow existing highway routes when building interstate 69."

Governor Rick Perry is in Iraq, but during a conference call he said this smaller version is not a rejection of his vision.

Molly Reuter, Reporting mreuter@kltv.com