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Selling Out America

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AUSTIN – The loss of American sovereignty and private property rights through eminent domain has been a key issue of the Trans Texas Corridor opposition from Texans who do not wish to lose their homes and land.

One major concern expressed by local area landowners is a foreign government is taking over several aspects of America through the TTC project.

Though public comments are still being taken by the Texas Department of Transportation regarding the TTC-69 (east Texas) portion of the project, portions of the TTC-35 (central Texas) are already underway. TTC-35 could consume as much as 8,400 acres of Ellis County, according to TxDOT documents and maps.

The TTC is not just a superhighway; it’s a multi-modal corridor, with one exit every 20 miles and 1,200 feet wide - not counting right-of-ways.

Current plans for vehicle traffic

Four of the lanes are designated for tractor-trailers and six lanes will be for passenger cars.

The TTC projects will include multiple modes of transportation including three rails for freight trains, two rails for passenger travel and a high speed train rail, utility pipelines and high-tech information wiring, thus constituting a multi-modal corridor.

TxDOT has been given unprecedented powers by the Republican-led Legislature and Republican Gov. Rick Perry to evaluate, analyze and facilitate numerous toll projects referred to as the TTC. Millions of acres in Texas are subject to these different mechanisms that have been provided to the state government and TxDOT in order to exercise eminent domain without any regard to public opinions or public votes.

According to Phillip Russell, director of the Texas Turnpike Authority, "It [House Bill 3588] gives us all authority and all of the power we need on a state level to move forward on the Trans-Texas Corridor, plus some."

The exact routes of the corridors are not being released to the public. It is unlikely that projects expected to top $183 billion have begun construction without exact locations allocated.

Meanwhile, unknowing landowners are developing family farms and building homes with the intentions of raising families and expecting retirement on land that will soon be "in the way" of progress.

Not releasing the exact routes has allowed major developers to purchase land along the proposed route at rural zoned prices, subdividing portions of the land and allowing people to build and develop around large empty parcels held by the developers.

Property is then re-zoned as residential; the property values of the undeveloped land turns increased profits when the state and TxDOT acquire all of the property at the new residential market value.

A $1.3 billion contract has been awarded to build the portion of the TTC between Austin and Seguin.

The contract is owned by a corporation named Cintra, a publicly traded Spanish firm that joined with Australian-based Macquarie Infrastructure Group.

Cintra and Macquarie operate and profit from many toll roads in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Chile.

The company is currently holding a 99-year lease on the Chicago Skyway, a controversial exchange considering the cost to build the toll road fell on the taxpayers while foreign entities profit by charging the taxpayers tolls to drive on roads built with American tax dollars.

Cintra and Macquarie also maintain all the rights to concession revenue (gas stations, motels, hotels, restaurants, ect.) along the Chicago Skyway. The provisions written into law regarding the TTC –cosponsored by Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, R-Palestine - have granted Cintra and Macquarie the same concession rights granted in the Chicago Skyway contracts.

Details regarding the $1.3 billion contract owned by the Cintra Corp. have not been made available to the public.

Many believe the ultimate goal of the TTC is to become the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Superhighway and unite the North American continent as the North American Union, or NAU. However, many of the elected officials of these United States, including President Bush have been engaging in "dialogue" and making partnerships with Mexico and Canada such as, the Security and Prosperity Partnership, or SPP. Official response from the White House is, "No actual treaty or law was signed."

On Feb. 14, a military pact, the Civil Assistance Plan or CAP, allows Canadian military to enter in to the United States (and vice versa) in the case of a natural disaster, man-made disaster, public health epidemic or law enforcement issue.

Within the provisions of the CAP, the president has supreme power to call a foreign military in to a state within the republic with authority bypassing all other governmental bodies including governors and state National Guards.

The clear intentions of these partnerships, according to government Web sites, are: uniting our national trade organizations, transportation infrastructures, militaries and our currencies. The new currency expected to replace the tumbling dollar is the Amero, which was presented at numerous free trade summits dating back as far as 1995.

Also included in the SPP is an act called, the R.E.A.L ID Act to be implemented across the nation before the end of 2008. According to the Department of Homeland Security, in order to use these corridors you must have a REAL ID-issued driver’s license (implemented at the state level) that will enroll citizens into a program known as the Trusted Traveler Program. These identification cards contain biometric tracking devices similar to toll tags with fingerprint technology. Annual fees to maintain Trusted Traveler status are expected to increase substantially by 2010.

It is unclear whether all citizens who wish to use the corridors will be required to enroll in a program as an antiterrorism measure, or only those who intend on crossing borders within the North American continent.

Two state legislatures – Maine and New Hampshire – rejected the R.E.A.L. ID Act. Both states were required to implement the measure by May 2008.

According to the official White House SPP website, www.SPP.gov, on the "myth and fact" page of the Web site, the White House denies that the federal government has intentions of uniting the three countries of North America. The official site states, "The U.S. government is not planning a NAFTA Super Highway."

"The U.S. government does not have the authority to designate any highway as a ‘NAFTA Superhighway’ nor has it sought such authority, nor is it planning to seek such authority."

However, on the very same official White House Web site, the page titled Prosperity Agenda of the Security and Prosperities Partnership section 2, paragraph 3, "[To] improve the safety and efficiency of North America’s transportation system by expanding market access, facilitating multi-modal corridors, reducing congestion, and alleviating bottlenecks at the border that inhibit growth…"

The agenda also describes the SPP’s intent to work with responsible jurisdictions (individual states) to develop mechanisms for enhanced road infrastructure planning (TxDOT’s unprecedented power to move forward), include an inventory of border transportation infrastructure in major corridors and public-private financing instruments for various projects.

It is still not clear how many thousands of Texan families will be forced to relocate in order to allow for enhanced road infrastructure planning. It is also uncertain how many jobs will be lost through the establishment of the NAU.

However, the estimates for job loss are very high, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, Alan S. Blinder, former vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve board of governors, "… [NAU] will put as many as 40 million American jobs at risk of being shipped out of the country in the next decade or two."

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