November 13, 2008 - 9:30PM
BY GEOFF FOLSOM
MIDLAND Issues great and small got attention Thursday evening at a Texas Department of Transportation town hall meeting.
John Cunningham, the president of the La Entrada Al Pacifico Rural Rail District, expressed concerns about the TxDOT-owned South Orient Railroad, which he says needs $100 million of rehabilitation work.
The operator of the rail line, which is being leased from TxDOT, isn't running it properly, he said.
Amadeo Saenz, TxDOT's executive director, told Cunningham that the agency would be seeking funding for the South Orient during the upcoming Legislative session.
"We feel if we can get it to a high enough standard, we can get more traffic through that line," Saenz said.
That wasn't the last time La Entrada came up during the meeting at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin's Center for Energy and Economic Diversification, though Hank Kirk of Midland referred to it as "Al Trada Pacifica."
"It would be nice to see it an American name," Kirk said. "I don't think people out here really want it."
Saenz told Kirk that a cost-benefit study would determine whether traffic on the trade corridor, a series of roads that would connect the Odessa-Midland area to the Mexican Port of Topolobampo, would be justified.
"It sounds like you really don't care too much what the people think," Kirk said. "It sounds like you've got your minds made up."
Later on, James Beauchamp, executive director of the Midland-Odessa Transportation Alliance, said La Entrada would be a network of already existing roads that already have planned expansion - not part of the proposed Trans Texas Corridor or a government "land grab."
"It's not the building of a corridor," he said. "It's the better utilization of existing transportation assets."
While previous TxDOT meetings have focused on La Entrada, the roughly 80 people gathered Thursday were encouraged to discuss other issues. And many took that opportunity.
Roy Karr, a resident at the Parks Methodist Retirement Village in Odessa, said more turning lanes need to be built along Faudree Road, where two motorcycles and a car were involved in a collision Sunday.
Lauren Garduño, TxDOT's Odessa district engineer, told Karr the Midland-Odessa Metropolitan Planning Organization has picked up the expansion of Faudree as a priority.
After the meeting, Karr said the meeting was a good idea.
"I felt real good about it," he said. "I enjoyed the whole session."
Terri Kneupper expressed concerns of West County Road narrowing to two lanes north of Yukon Road, which she said makes it difficult for cars coming and going to work. Garduño told her issues like that could be discussed more at a public workshop the MPO will hold Tuesday.
"I thought it was really interesting," Kneupper said afterwards. "I'm definitely going to try to go to the meeting on the 18th and see if a seed can be planted."
After the meeting, Saenz said the Permian Basin wouldn't be forgotten when it comes to dividing money for future TxDOT projects. He said Odessans have been brought in alongside those from major cities in planning sessions.
Saenz said he was pleased with the meeting, the third the agency has held around the state.
"This gives the people an opportunity to vent their concerns," he said. "Hopefully, at the end of the day, we learned from them and they learned from us."
And the man can't even lie good or keep his stories straight.From above:"It's not the building of a corridor," he said. "It's the better utilization of existing transportation assets."
From the current MOTRAN website:"Midland-Odessa Transportation Alliance (MOTRAN) represents the cities and chambers of commerce for Midland and Odessa, Texas, as well as Midland and Ector Counties and a number of other communities and private businesses in the region. The organization’s primary goal is to promote and develop the La Entrada al Pacifîco Trade Corridor.The La Entrada al Pacifîco Trade Corridor, the only internationally designated corridor, stretches from the Pacific Port of Topolobampo in the State of Sinaloa, Mexico, to Midland-Odessa, Texas, with access across the central United States through Oklahoma City, Tulsa, St. Louisand Chicago to Lake Michigan. Development of corridor projects, such as those currently requested, will open a new northeast trade route with Mexico and will provide enhanced congestion relief and safety improvements to the local communities that they serve."
11/17/2008 3:06:59 PM
This was a staged event and James Beauchamp lied so much I got nauseated and walked out. MOTRAN has changed its website but the previous one was layed out to present an inland port at Midland. They had it all designed. I'm sure they still have their plans, they've just hidden it now so the general public won't be able to access it. The plans are not for the one trade corridor of the Trans-Texas Corridor but for several. NASCO had them on their site -- which has now also been changed. Beauchamp was up there trying to convince us that work was been accomplished on closing our borders and enforcing our immigration laws. What he's doing is placating the general public because the Mexican trucks are still coming across, mostly uninspected. Go over to Rankin and look behind the warehouse. They've got an 18-wheeler they pulled over full of drugs. Bush extended the pilot program for another two years even though the American people spoke and legislation was passed to stop it. Drugs and illegals are being transported in these trucks and the trucks have preferred traveler status with stickers that allow them to go through our check points uninspected. The inland port plan is to make them MEXICAN soil with MEXICAN customs officials. The drug problem with Mexico has gotten so bad there have been five beheadings in Georgia. I watched a video of a Florida state representative presenting a story to their state legislature about a Mexican drug cartel smuggling in a group of young girls for prostitution. One would not submit. They tied her to a chair, tied the others to chairs in a circle around her. They beheaded her and left the others to sit there and contemplate her fate for hours after they had told them that if they did not submit, the same would happen to them. Phoenix is now known as the kidnapping capitol of the world because of the activities of the drug cartels in that area. It's happening also on the Texas border. This is what MOTRAN and TX DOT won't tell you. And they also won't tell you that NAFTA and the Security and Prosperity Partnership contain provisions to set up tribunals and Parliaments with the power to overrule our laws, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights. The Security and Prosperity Partnership isn't even passed by our legislature even though the proponents have slipped in provisions that would legalize it into unrelated bills 800 pages long, but the 30 committees established by it are working every day to change our administrative laws. The tribunals already exist under NAFTA and have already brought suits against American companies that won't cooperate. The bank to transfer our tax money to Mexico to build their infrastructure already exists and since the holdup was Mexico's refusal to extradite Mexicans who had committed crimes in the U.S. and escaped back into Mexico and now they've extradited four of them, I'm sure our tax dollars are flowing into Mexico while our own infrastructure collapses from lack of funds to provide basic maintenance. The report from the Council on Foreign Relations, "Building a North American Community," has a provision in it that the economies of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico must be "harmonized" (leveled). We have the bail-out and rampant unemployment which has destroyed many of our citizens' financial futures and given the executive branch under the Secretary of the Treasury unlimited and unsupervised powers. The "fail-safe" committee set up under the legislation that our representative Conaway voted yes for is a joke. It's time we started calling this what it is... treason. If our elected representatives and the people they appoint to manage our roads and our governmental departments can't do their jobs without destroying our Constituion, our Bill of Rights, and our economic and physical security, it's time to start sending them to jail.