TTC-35 TIER ONE
DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
AUGUST 21, 2006
Comments 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 Statement.
TIER ONE DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
CorridorWatch.org is extremely concerned
about the potential environmental and community issues related
to the development of the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC). We are
particularly concerned about the lack of planning coordination
demonstrated from the conception of this proposed project. That
lack of planning coordination undermines early identification of
fatal flaws; decreases opportunities to identify and avoid
environmental and community issues; and, therefore prevents the
mitigation of those issues.
It is important to recognize that state
transportation officials adopted the TTC plan and advanced it
well beyond the plan development stage without seeking or
receiving any significant public comment. Before the initiation
of the NEPA process there was virtually no dialogue with public
officials or the general public that resulted in meaningful
public comment. This project has rapidly progressed from
concept, to execution of a development agreement, and to Tier
One DEIS without public debate of need and purpose. Accordingly,
public input now sought and received is coming from public
officials and a general public that are not informed adequately
to understand the TTC, the scope of the project or the potential
environmental and community risks. Despite the poor level of
public communication, public comments that have been made during
Tier One public hearings have overwhelmingly opposed all twelve
CorridorWatch.org is particularly concerned
- Quality of life impacts;
- Impact and costs to the natural environment and
- Impact to watersheds;
- Loss of valuable natural and recreational areas;
- Loss of private property and subsequent dislocation of
families, businesses, small towns and communities;
- Loss of valuable farm land;
- Destruction of the viability of farms and ranches;
- Speculative nature of acquiring land well in advance of
any reasonably projected or demonstrated need;
- Impact to tourism;
- Disruption of existing local and regional transportation
- Costs to counties and communities along the alignment.
CorridorWatch.org does not believe that these
issues were properly nor fully taken into consideration during
any period of developing the TTC plan.
Existing environmental review processes in
Texas are not equipped to handle a project of this scope. The
multiple components such as highway, rail, pipeline, and
transmission lines require analysis performed in an all
inclusive approach to properly address the combined affect these
multiple components will have on environmental issues.
The size of the proposed TTC will unavoidably
impact every community in the central Texas corridor. The
development of a multi-modal corridor will have substantial
costs to the citizens of Texas that may not be offset by equal
benefit. CorridorWatch.org believes that there is insufficient
data available to judge the overall feasibility.
Community issues include loss of a sense of
place, loss of community fabric, dislocation and other quality
of life concerns. These issues are of the same importance as
other environmental effects in determining the overall impact
and feasibility of the TTC.
The TTC alignment is predominately within
undeveloped and rural land. Future development pressures near
the corridor will increase the potential for inappropriate
conversion of undeveloped land into sprawling, low-density
development. While access to the TTC would likely be limited to
few locations, there will be pressure for development where
adequate public facilities and service do not exist and cannot
be provided in an efficient manner.
The TTC has not been coordinated with
regional, county nor city transportation plans. This lack of
coordination threatens the efficiency of the overall
The TTC has the potential to redirect traffic
and resulting economic development away from existing regions
and communities. The result would be a substantial threat to
business retention and a loss of economic opportunities for
existing communities and businesses.
By design the TTC takes an excessive
right-of-way (ROW) width for its alignment. Every proposed
element/facility in the TTC plan for construction over the next
50-years can be built inside a typical ROW of 756-feet. No
justification, purpose, or need has been identified or disclosed
for taking the additional 435-feet of ROW width. This excessive
taking of private property is an abuse of economic and personal
rights of property owners.
The TTC will impact recreational
opportunities through loss of open space and by creating an
The TTC will adversely impact fish and
wildlife habitat and migration patterns.
The TTC will adversely impact air quality by
providing alignments that increase the travel distance between
metropolitan centers. Longer travel distances will generate
additional air pollution from the consumption of gasoline and
diesel fuels. As proposed the TTC will adversely impact air
quality by allowing higher vehicle speeds that will increase the
generation of air pollution resulting from diminished combustion
engine vehicle efficiency.
As an unprecedented large state-wide project
impacting a large segment of the state’s population, the TTC
requires significant effort to involve the public in all stages
of planning. No such effort has been made, nor has the state
demonstrated any responsiveness to the small amount of public
input that has been received prior to the Tier One public
TTC planning has not adequately considered
social and economic effects. Various population groups within
the region may be affected quite differently in terms of mixes
of socioeconomic effects.
Transportation corridors do not automatically
create private sector investments and jobs.
The TTC will have negative impacts on the
socioeconomic fabric of nearby communities. A lack of
accessibility along the new corridor will create a number of
social and economic impacts on those communities. Both access to
the TTC and the ability to transverse the TTC at reasonable
intervals will have substantial impact to rural Texas.
Social impacts include a loss of community
cohesion, loss of land and diminished access as well as barrier
effects. Travel patterns, accessibility, mobility, social
cohesion of established communities, and economic viability of
established businesses will be indirectly impacted by the TTC.
Many rural citizens derive their sense of
place from the geographic isolation that will be disrupted by
proximity to the TTC.
The TTC will result in the loss of farm and
ranch land. Texas farms and ranches represent a unique
combination of residence and business. Unlike urban and suburban
residences and businesses, farms and ranches cannot be
relocated. This will leave the owners without homes or income.
The TTC will create a barrier effect in
several respects. It will divide large properties, including
farms and ranches rendering the properties useless or
diminishing their current use. The separation of farm land could
take farms out of production by preventing the efficient
movement of farming equipment between fields separated by the
The TTC will inhibit localized movement of
people and commerce. Neighborhoods and areas such as church
parishes and public school districts could be separated. Access
to family, schools, doctors, hospitals, stores and other local
destinations will be inhibited. Delivery of emergency services
such as fire, emergency medical, and law enforcement will be
impacted by the barrier effect, especially in rural Texas. The
result will be reduced community cohesion and lowered qualify of
Land values adjacent to the TTC will likely
decline in value as function of their proximity to the TTC and
the undesirable visual, noise and air quality impact to the
environment. Land values may also significantly decline as the
result of access and their local barrier effect.
The proposed TTC would be a significant
alteration of the current surface transportation system in the
State of Texas. While it has the potential to improve the
movement of freight and people across the state, it also has the
resulting potential for extensive impacts to existing
environmental and community resources. As discussed, these
potential impacts are directed upon multiple issues and
resources in both the natural environment and the communities in
and around the proposed corridor area. These potential impacts
play a significant role in determining the overall corridor’s
feasibility. They warrant further study to increase the overall
understanding of the full potential effect of the TTC.
For these and other reasons,
CorridorWatch.org strongly supports the No-Build Alternative.
David K. Stall