NAFTA Superhighway: Progress On The Trans Texas Corridor Continues
Barbara L. Minton
April 9, 2008
An article carried by Reuters, March 10, 2008, datelined Madrid reports that the Spanish company Cintra said it had closed financing to build segments 5 and 6 of its SH-130 toll road between San Antonio and Austin, Texas in the U.S. It plans to invest $1.36 billion in this leg of the project.
In a statement to Spain’s stock market, Cintra said $197 million of the investment came from consortium partners and the rest from a bank loan and debt from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The newly financed segment is part of the Trans Texas Corridor, a 4,000 mile plan of super toll ways. The Corridor plan calls for a superhighway with 12 passenger vehicle lanes, 4 truck lanes, 2 passenger train tracks, 2 commuter train tracks, 2 freight train tracks, underground lines for water, natural gas, petroleum, telecommunication fiber optics, and overhead high-voltage electric transmission lines and towers.
Plans also include gas stations, garages, restaurants, hotels, stores, billboards, warehouses, freight interchanges, inter-modal transfer areas, bus stations, passenger train stations, parking facilities, dispatch control centers, maintenance facilities, pipeline pumping stations, and toll booths.
The Trans Texas Corridor is the largest engineering project ever undertaken in Texas, costing over $180 billion dollars.
A consortium led by the Cintra Concesiones Infraestruturas SA, known as Cintra, announced the contract to build the Trans Texas Corridor in December, 2004, and said it expected to develop 6 billion U.S. dollars of motorway projects during the following five years as part of the project.
In order to complete this project, the state of Texas will take ½ million acres, including some of the richest farm land in the state called “Blacklands”. The typical section of the highway will require 146 acres of right of way per mile. The total anticipated right of way for the 4,000 miles of corridor is 584,000 acres.
The Trans Texas Corridor project authorizes a Commission to take private land from its current owners to lease for commercial, industrial or agricultural purposes. This is a massive transfer of ownership from private to state owned, and puts the state in the position of being in direct competition with private business.
It also takes business away from hundreds of Texas communities by limiting traveler access and providing State contract concessions. It also takes land off county and school district tax rolls, requiring local taxpayers to absorb the difference.
Critics of the Corridor claim that it will change the face of Texas, and compare it to a terrifying nightmare. According to Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, “Texas should not be sold out to foreign interests. Texas farms and ranches should be for Texas farmers and ranchers. We should not let a European consortium take our Texas birthright. Our leaders should not be asking us to give them our land and then insist we should have to pay to drive across it.”
The Trans Texas Corridor is seen as the first leg of the NAFTA superhighway, first purposed in 2002. When completed, the NAFTA superhighway will allow cargo from the Far East to enter the U.S. through the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas and proceed straight to the new Smart Port complex in Kansas City. From there it will be dispersed into the U.S. or continue northward into Canada, crossing both borders with only electronic checkpoints.
The NAFTA superhighway is one feature of the North American Union, which will effectively create a North American trading block by erasing the borders between the U.S., Mexico and Canada resulting in free, unimpeded movement of people and goods across those borders. It is also a political union that would integrate the governments of the three countries, as well as an economic union with the intention of equalizing the wages and standard of living of all but the ruling elitists.