‘BORDER BANNERS’ HIT RUT ON SUPERHIGHWAY
Oklahoma, Texas team up to halt ill-conceived NAFTA road complex from vivisecting America
By Mark Anderson
FROM SOUTH TEXAS—The “big slab”—formally known as the Trans Texas Corridor, or TTC—may be “sitting on the bench” for the next two years or so—with a ban on land-acquisition, financing, design, maintenance and construction that went into effect in the spring of 2007, mandated by the Texas Legislature. But the financial interests (and their camp followers) behind this international superhighway project never seem to take a siesta.
For the continental “NAFTA Superhighway” ever to become a reality, the TTC—envisioned as a superwide “gateway” highway/tollway system that would ripple through many parts of Texas and gobble up huge tracts of land—would have to be built.Without it, the twisted dreams of super-financiers to fuseMexico, the U.S. and Canada into a single superstate, using mega-highway systems to help bind three nations into one, could be jeopardized.
“If Texas falls, the whole country is a goner,” says Amanda Teegarden, a determined activist and co-founder of OK-SAFE Inc., a nonprofit education and lobbying group tracking the actions of the North American Super Corridor Coalition, or NASCO, the outfit behind the technology (scanners, closed circuit TV, etc) for global tracking systems such as the one that would be used along the Interstate 35-corridor. I-35 runs from Laredo, Tex., and then north through San Antonio, Austin ,Waco and Dallas, and then into Oklahoma and beyond.
The TTC’s main arteries would include that route, enabling cargo to enter the U.S. at Laredo by the border with Mexico. The cargo might enter this hemisphere via Mexico’s ocean ports. Red Chinese shipping interests have a strong presence at such ports, and NASCO is a full partner in the network of Savi, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lockheed-Martin company. Savi is a joint venture of Lockheed and the Chinese Hutchison Port Holdings company. And that company is owned by Hutchison-Whampoa, the huge Chinese shipping company that controls key ports around the world.
Teegarden told American Free Press Oct. 16 that OK-SAFE—Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise—was started to stop the TTC.
“That’s our main goal,” she said, adding that she’s working with State Sen. Randy Brogden to withdraw Oklahoma from NASCO. The state, since the I-35 goes through it, belongs to NASCO and pays $25,000 a year for the “privilege.” The effort to get Oklahoma out of NASCO is expected to get some traction early next year.
“Our legislative session starts in January,” she said, adding that another goal of OK-SAFE is to defund the activities of the Security and Prosperity Partnership’s Working Group—a key elitist organization behind the proposed North American Union (NAU).
The NAU would be patterned after the European Union in its melding of separate nation-states into an unwieldy, continental superstate.
At a Sept. 29 “Defending America’s Sovereignty” conference that OK-SAFE organized, Brogdon reportedly raised objections to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, arguing President Bush had secretly sealed the agreement with Mexico’s then president Vicente Fox and Canada’s then-prime minister Paul Martin in Waco, Texas, March 23, 2005.
The TTC would be a superwide slab of pavement with multiple lanes in each direction, parallel railroad lines, power and utility lines etc. But because Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 792 in early June just after the part-time Legislature ended its session —after he had vetoed HB 1892, an earlier attempt to impose a moratorium on the TTC— the TTC has been slowed down somewhat.
That legislation was authored by State Sen. TommyWilliams to put a two-year freeze on private tollway deals in general, including the TTC. The trend in America, which is being bankrupted by endless overseas military excursions, a huge entitlement system and the shutting down or outsourcing of its domestic manufacturing base, has been to sell public assets to private entities, including foreign ones.
Toll roads, such as the Indiana Toll Road, have been sold to such interests. And even state lotteries have been eyed as sellable assets. Michigan, Illinois and Indiana have flirted with that idea, as state officials and memoranda confirmed in a recent AFP inquiry “It’s important we fully understand the implications of allowing private companies to operate and collect revenue on tollways before we release any control of our transportation system,” Sen. Williams explained in a news release back on March 7.
“This legislation establishes a 24-month moratorium on the privatization of state toll roads and prohibits entities from entering into any contract permitting a private participant to operate and collect revenue or selling existing toll roads to a private interest, including roads planned as part of the Trans- Texas Corridor.”
While Jason Smith, a spokesman for Sen.Williams, confirmed Oct. 16 that the two-year moratorium on the TTC is binding, having taken effect in early June, all is not well in San Antonio, where the group San Antonio Toll Party is incensed over plans to convert portions of paid-for freeways, such as U.S. 281, into tollways with excessively high tolls.
On U.S. 281, regular motorists are looking at 17 cents a mile and truckers could pay 46 cents or more, if the plan is finalized late this year. Moreover, tolls would be levied not only per-mile but also at interchanges, and entering or leaving the tollway.
“It’s gouge, gouge, gouge,” said Terri Hall, a leading SA Toll Party member.
Hall said that the most infuriating thing is that $100 million in gas-tax revenues has been set aside since 2003 to make needed improvements to part of U.S. 281 in San Antonio, and that converting this paid-for freeway into an expensive tollway is totally unnecessary.
“They don’t need to toll this road; this is simply a money-grab,” she toldAFP, adding that Sen.Williams’s SB 792, in her view, is not enough. While her group backed HB 1892 and settled for SB 792, she said the moratorium on keeping private firms out of the toll road business is all good and well, but even the so called public projects to convert freeways into tollways throughout Texas seem bent on steamrolling taxpayers.
Asked whether this is a piecemeal way of building arteries for the TTC, Hall was unsure. But since a number of freeways besides 281 may be converted to toll routes, they conceivably could be adopted into the TTC schematic later, Teegarden noted.
“Texas will look like Swiss cheese if they do this thing,” Teegarden said. “It (the TTC) would have 4,000 miles of interconnecting highways in Texas alone, with a new route along I-35 and the proposed I-69 to the east as the main arteries.”
AFP roving correspondent Mark Anderson can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Issue #44, October 29, 2007)