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Texas Enjoys a Competitive Edge in Today's Global Economy

Lisa A. Bastian (Apr/May 08)
(page 4 of 4)
It's very likely a "toll road model" will be used to help fund the TTC, explains Gabby Garcia, Texas Department of Transportation spokesperson, since state monies are now primarily used to pay for maintenance of Texas' existing roads. But toll roads are just one of many concerns fueling mini-firestorms in some Texas communities. Proponents want to discuss how the TTC will relieve congested highways, create new markets and jobs, bring economic development to more parts of the state, develop new cities and industrial parks, etc. Opponents want to discuss state and national sovereignty, the potential purchase (or confiscation) of tens of thousands of acres, ties to NAFTA and immigration, and who benefits financially from construction.

TTC plans are still in flux, Garcia patiently emphasizes, and specific TTC routes have yet to be determined. However, two routes are now undergoing environmental studies and, if approved and funded, construction of them could start "in four to five years."

The proposed 600-mile TTC-35 corridor parallels I-35, and would extend from north of Dallas-Forth Worth to Mexico and possibly the Gulf Coast. The proposed 650-mile I-69/TTC corridor extends from Texarkana/Shreveport, around Houston and down to Mexico, possibly by way of the Rio Grande Valley or Laredo.

"Presently there is no interstate corridor leading down to Laredo, the biggest land port in Texas, or to the Port of Brownsville," notes Garcia. She adds that existing routes from those areas (state and U.S. highways) could be expanded and might include "some sort of rail component." In sum, while the economies of many other states have contracted, Texas' economy continues to expand, strengthen, and make attempts to diversify. Its pro-business regulatory environment, economic development programs, and educated work force - especially in the high-tech sector - all combine to provide the Lone Star State an enviable competitive edge in today's global economy.
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