DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
made on behalf the more than 5,000 members of CorridorWatch.org
who live and/or own land in 186 Texas counties including all 38
counties within the preferred corridor and reasonable corridor
alternates the subject of this TTC-35 Draft Environmental Impact
DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT COMMENTS
Texas Corridor 35 (TTC-35) Tier One Draft Environmental Impact
Statement (DEIS) prepared by the Texas Department of
Transportation (TxDOT) is inadequate for the reasons enumerated
use of a Comprehensive Development Agreement (CDA) has
functioned to preclude the consideration of, and public
review of, other reasonable alternatives.
use of a CDA has provided for the suppression of critical
environmental impact information from disclosure to public
officials, decision-makers, and the general public.
has improperly used Special Experimental Project number 15
(SEP-15) features for unintended purposes in direct
conflict with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
to ensure that no commitment to any alternative evaluated during
the NEPA review process would be made prior to the completion of
the NEPA review process. TxDOT also agreed to allow all
alternatives presented in the NEPA document, including the
no-build alternative, would be equally evaluated.
use of a CDA TxDOT has narrowly defined the project. In
accordance with the Request for Detailed Proposals for TTC-35
TxDOT exercised an inflexible control over the Conceptual
Facility Design to the exclusion of all alternatives other than
the singular designated facility design. In conformance with the
Crossroads of the Americas: Trans Texas Corridor Plan
(Implementation Plan) the only acceptable configuration (with
limited exception) is a 1,200-foot wide corridor containing
certain predefined facilities.
As a result
TxDOT has improperly limited the range of reasonable
alternatives evaluated during the NEPA review process and did so
prior to completion of the NEPA review process. All twelve of
the build alternatives presented in the DEIS are an identical
grouping of facilities varied only by placement in various
geographical locations. By limiting the range of alternatives
effectively to a single build alternative TxDOT failed to allow
other alternatives to be equally evaluated. These actions are in
violation of the terms of the July 11, 2005, TTC-35 Early
Development Agreement (EDA) [4.1 C (iii)].
The result of
TxDOT’s control in limiting is evidenced in the Tier One DEIS
process that discarded all proposed alternatives except those
suitable for a 1,200-foot ROW and the required no-build
alternative. Although additional alternatives may be raised for
consideration as the result of the current DEIS comment period,
those alternatives will be evaluated against the same narrowly
defined CDA criteria that excluded them during the original
review. Therefore we can expect the outcome to remain the same.
requires TxDOT to ensure that no decision regarding a preferred
alternative is made before all necessary environmental impact
information is available for review and comment by both the
decision-makers and the general public.
Development Plan (CDP) was provided as Exhibit B of the CDA
executed between Cintra Zachry LP and TxDOT on March 11, 2005.
The CDP addresses a range of parameters and assumptions that
include the anticipated effect, impacts and implications of
implementing the plan. TxDOT has had possession of the CDP for
more than a year. Disclosure of environmental impact information
contained in the CDP is necessary and required for proper NEPA
decision making. Despite the critical nature of that information
TxDOT has never publicly disclosed the CDP. Although TxDOT has
offered a business reason for keeping the CDP confidential,
TxDOT does not have the authority to use the CDA to act in
direct conflict with the purpose of 23 C.F.R. 636.109. By
concealing the CDP from public officials, decision-makers, and
citizens, TxDOT and the Proposer have conspired to circumvent
the purpose of 23 C.F.R. 636.109.
additional alternatives may be raised for consideration as the
result of the DEIS comment period, those alternatives will be
evaluated against the CDP, the contents of which continue to be
concealed, and the outcome of that review will surely follow the
same path that excluded alternatives in the original review.
of 23 C.F.R. 636.109 is to ensure that there is an unbiased NEPA
decision-making process. Its purpose includes ensuring that
public officials and citizens have the necessary environmental
impact information before actions are taken.
reached a decision regarding a preferred alternative without all
necessary environmental impact information being made available
for review and comment by the decision-makers and the general
public. Such failure to disclose available environmental impact
information constitutes a violation of the terms of the EDA [4.1
C (iv)] and is a clear violation of NEPA.
experimental features now incorporated into the EDA were
intended to facilitate innovative finance and provide for more
efficient and timely project development. We do not believe it
was the intended purpose of the SEP-15 experimental features to
circumvent regulations established under NEPA nor was the EDA to
provide TxDOT with an all-inclusive exception to 23 C.F.R.
CorridorWatch.org respectfully requests:
TxDOT fully and publicly disclose all
environmental impact information in your possession,
including specifically Exhibit B – CDP of the CDA with
TxDOT reconsider all known alternatives
without the current limitations of the CDA/CDP, or
underlying Implementation Plan;
That, if and when the FHWA approves a TTC-35
Tier One DEIS, TxDOT repeat the entire Tier One public
hearing process anew to afford the general public and
decision-makers an opportunity to accomplish meaningful
review and analysis of newly disclosed information and
That TxDOT respond to in writing to the
comments and requests made herein in reference to the TTC-35
Tier One DEIS; and,
That each comment and request made herein be
responded to and addressed individually on its own merits.
address for purposes of reply to CorridorWatch.org is:
Fayetteville, TX 78940-5468.
For Your Consideration,
/ Signed /David K. Stall
On Behalf of:
Fayetteville, TX 78940-5468
August 17, 2006
By U.S. Priority Mail