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Opinions on the Trans Texas Corridor Project?

FueledByRamen

Cyburbian
Messages
449
Points
13


So what are your thoughts on this as an intelligent plan for decreasing congestion and increasing mobility? What about environmental impacts? Is it worth the dough? Would us Texans actually use the rail component???

 

bocian

Cyburbian
Messages
212
Points
9
The top computer image portrays a corridor that must be approx. 1-mile wide! Back to the 1950s style of planning? Robert Moses would be proud and approve..
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
7,393
Points
33
can you say boondoggle???

If I remember right, the ROW for these corridors is something like 2000+ feet. This project will probably not pan out as it's visualized in Ramen's post. The I-35 corridor is feasible and already starting in the Central Texas area. I could also see the "I-69" extension from Houston down along the Gulf Coast. Traffic levels at this time on other routes simply don't justify the rest of the project (at least at this time). My biggest question is money. I'm just not sure how willing Texans are to pay tolls when most of our interstates aren't that congested outside of metro areas.

This is also going to be the ROW aquisition project from hell. Texas is a pretty intense property rights "don't tread on me" state, so some of these good ol' boys will probably raise a stink about losing their six-generation land. Developers will probably force TxDOT to do our infamous double-directional access roads along these "turnpikes" so they can build some lovely outlet malls or something. I guess I just don't have a lot of faith in our state government after my interactions with state-level transportation planning.

I love the idea of diverting freight lines out of the congested cities so you don't have to deal with the traffic snarls train crossings create. Texas State alumni know what I mean here. That frees up the metro lines for localized commuter rail. (Union Pacific and Burlington Northern own most of the lines in Texas, part of why passenger rail is not popular here)

I don't think the high-speed rail will work for a couple of reasons:
-Texans love their trucks
-Texans love their trucks
-Southwest Airlines will scream bloody murder as they have before since a lot of their business comes from short flights between San Antonio, Austin, Houston & Dallas. High-speed rail will likely hurt their business.
-You have to reach a point where the utility for using rail is greater than the utility for using a car. If you have these wide open roads being built, people don't have a reason to get out of their cars and into trains. These trains would have to be fast and have cheap fares for people to trade in their more independent mode of transportation.

The environmental impacts are a little more difficult to predict. I don't know a lot about how cars affect air pollution, but I'm guessing you would see more cars on the road. However, through traffic wouldn't be getting caught in metro traffic so you wouldn't have as much pollution from idling engines. My biggest concern would be the highways in North and East Texas. There are a couple of national forests in that area and a bunch of wetlands in East Texas. That is one environmental impact statement I would hate to see.

Well, I must be feeling bitter and pessimistic again...
 

FueledByRamen

Cyburbian
Messages
449
Points
13
My first though about environmental impact was the width of the "road." that makes for a good bit of impervious ground cover and also COMPLETELY isolates ecosystems on one side of the road from those on the other.

And on the rail effectiveness...

Well, my best bet would be to do only this: Put extra lanes for 18 wheelers ONLY along a couple of major roads like 35, maybe do the I 69 thing...and lastly, do the train thing between Dallas, Austin, SA, and Houston, make the fare cheap (like $25) and possibly charge a toll on I 35 that would actually make it just as economical to ride the train. ($5-10 in tolls for the entire trip from Austin to Dallas, plus the cost of gas). Also, if the train were as planned in the TTC project, the trip from Austin to Dallas would take a mere 1.5 hours, which would deffinately have me riding it. The only reason I dont take the Amtrak up there when I go home is the travel time. I think it is close to 5 hours now whereas it takes 2:45 to Fort Worth by car.

Adam
 

freewaytincan

Cyburbian
Messages
125
Points
6
I'm not big on adding the roads, because a lot of them are already in place with state highways and such. What really concerns me is the clear avoidance of any population center on the conceptual map. That just won't work if they want to include passenger rail!

Even still, it is fairly exciting, because Texas is leading the Sunbelt in so many things, and this just adds on to that, the rail. I just hope the State can see the need to privatize as much as possible. I can already tell that if this is tax-funded, it will never be completed.
 

ilikefish0

Cyburbian
Messages
204
Points
9
Just glanced at the map, and my first thought was "Hey, it's the plan for Houston's next 'outer' belt freeway." I do agree with previos posters that most of the roads are already in place. Most of the rail lines probably exist too, as Interstate highways and the US routes that preceeded them often followed railway lines. The big flaw in the plan that I can see is that these highways don't actually SERVE anywhere. The primary purpose of cross-country highways is to link cites. This obviously doesn't happen if higways avoid cities like the plague.
 
Messages
10
Points
1
We certainly seem to be going back to the 50 s. Sounds similar to the Trans Israel highway here to me , a different scale though . The Trans Israel highway aims to connect the country from the north to the south , large sections are already completed . But what it does very effectively is cut the country into two specially vis-a-vis the Arabs , it very conveniently creates a barrier between the Jews and Arabs and no points for guessing who is better served by it >: [ The environmental impact of this swathe of tar running hundreds of kilometres would also be considerable .
At the same time a lot of effort is afoot to connect the various parts of the country with rail . The two seem to be working at cross purposes and it wont be very surprising if in the end public transport would be seen as not feasible .
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
Suburb Repairman said:
I love the idea of diverting freight lines out of the congested cities so you don't have to deal with the traffic snarls train crossings create. Texas State alumni know what I mean here. That frees up the metro lines for localized commuter rail. (Union Pacific and Burlington Northern own most of the lines in Texas, part of why passenger rail is not popular here)


QUOTE]

B O B C A T S :-D sorry, couldn't help it!

I couldn't agree more with getting the bug trucks off I35, expecially the tricky lower I35 in Austin (although last time I was back they've taken out a few of the suicide exit and entrance ramps)... but last I heard Austin was still having trouble getting the land needed to expand I35 through downtown anyway. If highways would have to be diverted around smaller areas where ROW aquisition is an issue I can only imagine the smaller highway towns with one gas station getting upset about a possible loss of revenue.

I think, depending on price, tollways could work. I loved the tollways in Dallas, I took the GB to work everyday in Plano and I was always on the Tollroads to go out on the weekends. People who travel more, and those of us stuck to our cars, could get the same toll tag decal.
 
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