By Terri Hall
[Editor’s note: The Free Trade corridor network that tie Mexico, Canada and the U.S. together are a critical component of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was negotiated by George W. Bush and signed into law by Bill Clinton. Both Bush and Clinton were members of the Trilateral Commission. Furthermore, NAFTA’s chief architect was U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills, also a Trilateral. The Trans Texas Corridor is the first major link of this super-corridor system; if successfully completed (e.g., if Texans lose the fight to stop it again), America will be opened up like a can of sardines. Please see additional links below for other August Review articles on this topic.]
After Rick Perry’s highway department announced the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) route known as TTC-35 was “dead” in 2009, we find out post-election in 2010 that it, along with free trade, is very much alive and well. Canadian officials have shown renewed interest in a multi-modal trade corridor along I-35. Winnipeg recently announced its intention to build an inland port similar to those in San Antonio and Dallas. One such inland port in Kansas City has ceded sovereign United States territory to Canada and Mexico with the flags of all three countries flying over it. Officials in Winnipeg said it also intends to run a logistics and trade corridor to include rail and high speed highways all the way to Mexico as an Asia-Pacific gateway connecting to Toronto and Montreal.
It should surprise no one that former San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger and tolling authority (Alamo RMA) Chairman Bill Thornton took a trip to Toronto in 2006, partially at taxpayer expense, to promote Trans Texas Corridor-style trade connections and to be certain it includes the Port of San Antonio.
Norris Pettis, Canadian Consul General in Dallas, notes in the latest San Antonio Business Journal that “of all the urban centers I deal with, San Antonio is right up there in preaching free trade.” The article also said Canadian officials observe an anti-trade sentiment in the U.S. as a whole, but see an open door in Texas, which they say doesn’t share “protectionist policies.”
Thank you, Rick Perry.
Tullos Wells is part of the Lone Star Rail project (pushing an Austin-San Antonio commuter rail line) and also traveled with Hardberger. He also happens to work for the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani, one of the biggest players in pushing the privatization of our public roads (and represents Spain-based Cintra on private toll deals here in Texas) as well as pushing these multi-national trade corridors. Read more about the Bracewell & Giuliani connection here. It’s not rocket science to conclude this is why Rick Perry endorsed Rudy Giuliani for President in 2007.
The Trans Texas Corridor has always been about exploiting Texas landowners and taxpayers to open up new trade corridors to facilitate the free flow of goods among the three countries to benefit private corporations. Executive Director of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Amadeo Saenz, admitted in public testimony February 1 (watch it here), that though TxDOT says the TTC is Â“dead,Â” it could change its mind tomorrow and still move forward with the Trans Texas Corridor since the statutory authority to do so remains in the Texas Transportation Code. This is one time we can take them at their word. They are indeed moving forward.
While most Texans have no problem with trade, many have expressed dismay with so-called “free” trade. It’d be more aptly called government managed trade, which is heavily tilted in favor of foreign countries, fails to insist on reciprocity, and overly taxes American goods while providing tax breaks on foreign imports. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has done more to hurt the U.S. manufacturing sector than any other government policy in recent history. In fact, more than one million Americans have lost jobs due to NAFTA. Given the grim state of the economy and high U.S. unemployment, now more than ever, the U.S. needs to reconsider NAFTA.
A handful of U.S. lawmakers recently renewed calls to repeal NAFTA. President Obama once spoke of his support for renegotiating parts of NAFTA, but seems to have reversed himself since taking office, now battling members of his own party to push for yet more “free” trade agreements to be signed with many other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile, Peru, Vietnam and Brunei on an Asia-Pacific regional free-trade agreement, South Korea, Panama, and Columbia.
Stop the freight train…
Within days of Perry winning the Texas primary March 2, TxDOT revealed its intention to extend the SH 130 toll road northward. SH 130 from Georgetown around Austin extending south to San Antonio is the first leg of the Trans Texas Corridor TTC-35. So as predicted, Perry, bolstered by his primary win, will continue his plans to push the TTC piece by piece all the way up to the Red River.
With Winnipeg moving a multi-modal trade corridor southward along I-35, and the expansion of US 281 south of San Antonio underway (which feeds into the I-35 corridor) moving the corridor northward, it proves the TTC’s demise was mere illusion designed to put Texans back to sleep while politicians get re-elected and quietly build it, segment by segment under the radar
Harness the power of local government
This new TTC segment from Waco to Hillsboro, fills the gaps of “free” lane I-35 expansion, and will also likely become some form of foreign-owned toll road, like segments 5 & 6 of SH 130. The good news is, the section of I-35 where there is a 391 local government subregional planning commission (TURF co-sponsored events to help spread this method to fight the Trans Texas Corridor for TTC-69), I-35 will be expanded and kept toll-free (read about their success here). So a portion of TTC-35 will bypass the 391 commission’s jurisdiction.
One of the proven ways Texans can STOP the TTC dead in its tracks is to utilize this little known goldmine of a government-to-government commission to force TxDOT to comply with the will of Texans within its jurisdiction. There are a total of 10 commissions formed using the local government code Chapter 391 in Texas, the majority of those formed directly to stop the TTC. To find out more about how to form one in your region, contact the private property rights foundation Americans Stewards of Liberty at http://www.stewards.us.
To deliver the final knockout punch, however, Texans must continue to pressure lawmakers and the Governor to repeal any and all forms of the Trans Texas Corridor (now renamed “innovative connectivity plan”) from the transportation code and prevent any further contracts from being signed.
Dirty little secrets sneak under the radar
The TTC-69 (planned to go from the Rio Grande Valley northeast to Texarkana and eventually up through Michigan) public private partnership (called CDA in Texas) was awarded to ACS of Spain and Zachry of San Antonio in June of 2008.
In August of 2009, Perry-appointed Texas Transportation Commissioner Ned Holmes asked for the TTC-69 contract to be approved by the Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott. Perry wants this contract signed before the citizens of Texas can step-in to stop it. Perry’s son, Griffin, works for UBS (to further connect the dots go here), the financial arm of the ACS consortium who won the development rights for TTC-69.
When TxDOT announced that TTC-35 was “dead,” it also clearly stated TTC-69, also given the name I-69 to make it appear more harmless, is still moving forward. In fact, expansion of US 77 is already underway in the valley as part of the initial leg of what will be known as TTC-69/I-69.
In addition, Ports to Plains (to run from Mexico all the way to Alberta, Canada) and La Entrada de Pacifico, two other active TTC corridors, show that nothing has changed there either, except shedding the official connection by name to the Trans Texas Corridor. La Entrada, to traverse through the Big Bend area, has a disturbing new twist with the resurrection of the idea to cede Big Bend to international interests by deeming it an “international” park, essentially to join it with Mexico’s “Big Bend” on the other side of the U.S. border.
The idea is to eventually develop future sea-port connections with Far-East ocean shipping lanes. The current strategy in these two corridors is to steer federal transportation dollars into several otherwise useful local projects over time, and then connect the segments into a singular, identifiable system.
Your tax dollars at work
An active coalition pushing the development of the Ports to Plains trade corridor just completed a trade mission to Alberta, as well as advertising the West Texas Trade Summit in San Angelo (February 19), where the stated goal was to promote both trade and multi-national trade corridors in Texas and Mexico. Ports to Plains Alliance will also be hosting an “Energy Summit” April 8 – 9 in Colorado, mirroring the efforts of other public private partnerships (partially tax-funded) like TTC-69’s Alliance for I-69, and the big I-35 coalition, called the North America Supercorridor Coalition or NASCO.
So don’t fall for the rhetoric, Texans. As Ronald Reagan used to say, “trust but verify,” and the verifiable facts point to the Trans Texas Corridor briskly moving ahead on all fronts. Remain vigilant to stop the biggest land grab in Texas history and to protect our sovereignty. Your freedom depends on it!
Make the connection…
Read more about how privatizing government functions comes at great cost to taxpayers here.
Read Ed Wallace’s article on Perry’s cronyism regarding privatizing and tolling our public roads here.
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Terri Hall is the founder of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF), a non-profit organization that has rallied Texans to successfully oppose the Trans Texas Corridor, which is a critical component in the formation of the North American Union (or North American Community). The NAU was promoted by former President George Bush as the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), and called for deep integration between Mexico, Canada and the United States. For further information,Terri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210 – 275-0640.
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