Citizens at Monday night's hearing on the proposed La Entrada al Pacifico trade corridor into Mexico questioned what benefits it would have for the U.S. and said they find it troubling it would bring so much truck traffic through West Texas.
Opening with a presentation by HDR engineering and design consultant Brian Swindell of Dallas, the 6 p.m. Texas Department of Transportation event at the Center for Energy and Economic Diversification between Midland and Odessa drew a packed house estimated at 160 people.
Noting it followed hearings in Presidio and Alpine and preceded tonight's gathering in Fort Stockton, Swindell said the series represents the mid-way point of phase two before the final development plan is adopted in phase three.
Brad Farris of Midland opened public comments by saying there is plenty of import traffic on the east and west coasts without involving Texas with the southwest Mexico seaport at Topolobampo.
"The more I think about this, the more I wonder why we need it," said Farris.
Nelda Snodgrass of Stanton said the cost of moving Martin County utility lines to accommodate the route would be $2-$3 million.
"Who's going to police all these trucks when they come across the border? I think the people ought to have the right to vote on it," Snodgrass said, drawing enthusiastic applause.
Maxine Leathers and her husband John of Midland questioned the corridor's necessity. "What are we going to be shipping from Mexico that is so important?" Maxine Leathers asked.
"Everything is in favor of Mexico," her husband said. "I don't see anything to benefit us."
Midland-Odessa Transportation Alliance Chairman Drew Crutcher of Odessa said the debate needed a broader perspective.
"I want us to step back from the trees and look at the forest," Crutcher said. "It was the right thing for MOTRAN to plan for this because we are not generating traffic. We're merely trying to respond to it and minimize its negative effects."
Swindell said the level of traffic north through Presidio-Ciudad Ojinaga will depend on when Mexico completes its infrastructure by laying a railroad through Copper Canyon and dredging Topolobampo Bay and increasing the port's container capacity.
If all that is finished after 2030, he said, a maximum of 338 trucks will be crossing the border each day and if it is done before 2020, the level by 2030 will increase to 739.
In either case, Swindell said, the traffic still will be well below allowable maximums and the two lane highways on the route's south end will not need to be widened.
He said TxDOT is considering various routes to Interstate 20 and Midland-Odessa and will narrow its choices for the corridor development plan.
TxDOT Project Engineer Peggy Thurin is taking written comments at Tpp_txdotfirstname.lastname@example.org and 17111 Preston Rd., Suite 200, Dallas 75248-1232.
Diesel is going up and up in price.
Are these trucks coming from Mexico going to fill up before they get to the United States and NOT stop again til they get to Canada.
This is going to do nothing but give the oil companies another excuse to raise the prices of gasolines.
Will there be United States military all along the route to keep these people from not coming into our country. Will they be kept on the road and not allowed to get off.
Will these trucks be inspected for safety , for drugs, for illegal aliens. FOR TERRORIST or BOMBS.
The citizens for the United States and Canada do not need this.
The United States needs to close the border to Mexico and secure it. We need the military on the border with machine guns and unlimited amounts of amo.
We need to keep the United States soverign.
We do not need to allow George W Santa Anna Bush to help Mexico invade the United States.