9/16/2006

Citizen Group Adds to Eminent Domain Debate in Texas Governor Race with Online Video Campaign: The Open Press, 9/12/06

The Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) project championed by Gov. Rick Perry will bring about mass evictions of Texans from their homes, farms, and ranches, according to an online video released by a citizen group.

An official web site promoting the TTC project confirms plans for use of eminent domain to evict families from their homes in record numbers.

"This is the largest land-grab in Texas history. Perry plans to force Texas families from their homes, kicking and screaming, so a foreign company can profit for the next 50 years. And, the details of the land grab are still being withheld from the public, for more than a year." said Sal Costello, founder of People for Efficient Transportation PAC.

A new video has been created by the group to help inform more Texans of the more than half a million acre Perry TTC plan, and it is easily available for viewing online at StopPerryLandGrab.com. The video was also created to shine a light on the secret deal made between Gov. Perry and Cintra behind closed doors that will result in the start of the massive evictions in order to begin construction the TTC, according to Costello.

In an effort to help the public visualize the impact of the TTC, the video shows a cartoon of Perry literally kicking families out of their homes and off their farms and ranches all across Texas.

"Texas families getting kicked out of their homes to benefit foreign construction companies is a horrific lottery with scary odds," said Costello. "They are forcing the TTC on Texans, and depending where they draw the line on the map will determine who gets booted from their homes."

The Texas Dept. of Transportation (TxDOT) has confirmed the plans in the "Myth vs. Reality" section of a web site created to promote the TTC plans.

"The video also focuses on the TTC contract that has been kept a secret for over a year. A lawsuit (Cintra Zachry, LP and the TxDOT vs Greg Abbott, District Court of Travis County, GN502207) was filed in June of 2005 to keep the details from being made public. The attorney general ruled the contract must be made public over a year ago. Why is the deal still a secret after a whole year?" asked Costello.

The [TxDOT] site does not deny the concerns expressed by the opposition of thousands of angry Texans who have appeared at recent hearings. Instead it provides excuses and justifications for the actions that are planned, and actually confirms those plans.

"Their own web site clearly states that property will be taken through eminent domain, and that they plan to use ‘Quick Take' authorized by HB 3588 to force homeowners out in just 91 days. They even state that they plan to do this just as soon as the environmental process and public hearings are completed," explained Costello.

"They admit that large amounts of farm land will be divided by the TTC, but they excuse it away by saying they will build cross over roads and places for livestock to cross under. They also admit that hundreds of thousands of acres of properties will be taken off the tax roles, costing local governments in lost taxes," he added.

The TTC site responds to concerns that the right of "quick-take" will be used to take private property for the TTC project by explaining how quick-take works. It does not, however, deny that quick-take will be used.

"The state has attempted to create an illusion that there is nothing to worry about and the fears that have been expressed at hearings all over the state are unfounded. In reality a careful reading of their own web site reveals that the state has confirmed all those fears," said Costello.


The Open Press: http://www.theopenpress.com

Sal Costello: 512-288-9991, Sal@TexasTollParty.com