On the Trans-Texas Corridor: 1

For those of you who aren’t from Texas and/or haven’t heard of the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC), it’s a proposed (and, of course, controversial) new highway, running roughly parallel to I-35 from Mexico to Oklahoma. It will have, according to TxDot’s TTC website: separate lanes for passenger vehicles and large trucks; freight railways; high-speed commuter railways; infrastructure for utilities including water lines, oil and gas pipelines, and transmission lines for electricity, broadband and other telecommunications services. According to CorridorWatch, it will also be extremely limited-access, only connecting via interchange to interstates and major highways: there are no planned on- or off-ramps, no frontage roads, etc. Also according to CW, gas stations, restaurants, and hotels will be built inside the corridor by the private companies who are, even according to TxDot, providing most of the money: so local economies will suffer as a result.
Oh, and the thing is a quarter of a mile wide, and will be (at least mostly) a toll road.

Some of this makes sense: freight & passenger railways, for one thing. Looking 50 years ahead, as TxDot says it’s doing with the TTC, for another. But 8,000 miles of road, taking up 146 acres per mile (according to CW), doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea, or a good use of resources. It also doesn’t seem particularly far-sighted to build this thing based on the assumption that gas will be as cheap or as plentiful in fifty years as it is today.

More on this later.

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