We did meet with Commissioner Atkins on Monday afternoon to add discussion of the proposed toll road project to the agenda for the upcoming Town Hall.
The Town hall will have 2 main agenda items, first Hunt County government business, then the toll road project is on the agenda. A short presentation from Publicwerks INC. followed by Q&A about the toll road project can then be made to the exact people offering to build the proposed toll road for NETEX.
We did contact Neal Barker and John Crews+ anyone they deem appropriate to attend so that you can ask them specific questions about where the toll road can be located (since it’s route is not tied to the RR right of way) and answer TX law limits and requirements about relocation if anyone chooses to move or is forced to by the government granting NETEX( or the designated private entity) the authority to force you to move if the toll road project is approved.
We ask that anyone that lives within 1 miles N or S of the RR right of way attend, because you are most likely to be directly affected by this proposed toll road.Anyone that lives within 2 miles of the RR right of way will be most likely indirectly impacted due to the design of the project, so we ask as many people attend this Town Hall so that everyone is as informed as possible.
Here are my key takeaways from the NETEX meeting today:
1. The tollroad route is not in any way tied to the current rail line right of way. This is key for routing the tollroad if feasible out and away from the right of way. The most costly course of action for Publicwerks is to have to build the toll road along the right of way due to homes, and improved land that would have to be purchased. They would much rather find a cheaper route.. Motion passed 6-5 for approval of the lease agreement (draft?) that would set the relationship between NETEX and Publicwerks. This lease is for 50 years with 2 25 year blocks as options (=100years possible). No upfront costs are charged to Publicwerks at this time.
2. It was motioned by a non supporter that a roll call vote be made so you can see who voted yay and nay.
3. Even the nay votes were not focused on how this project would impact the public, (however it was acknowledged) but how it would impact NETEX ability to raise funds using the Blacklands rail lines right of way they own.
4. The impact of traffic flowing into 78 was a issue with this proposed toll road.
5. The payment schedule over time was an issue since the CPI for the costs were not based on inflation, meaning that an agreement made in 2013 will be worth much less in 2033. (think of how a 1969 dollar is worth more than a 1999 dollar). Bottom line, it may have to re negotiated in order to ensure any monies owed to NETEX are indexed for inflation so they are not getting buckets of worthless cash 20 years from now that couldn’t support any improvements to the rail line.
6. NETEX is looking for Federal funding. So far they have been denied. However, if ever funded- they wouldn’t need this toll road and would be able to build the new railway within the right of way when funded.
7. One of nay votes brought up that for the toll road to make a profit was around 14000 cars at 75 mph a day. He quoted many figures about the payments for the lease and the toll road operations costs. This ties directly into what 78 can accept if this toll road was built and had that much traffic per day. According to him anything less wouldn’t make enough money to buy more than a few hundred cross toes for the RR….his nay vote was based on the money figures and that they were not there per the current lease agreement.
8.Judge Horn voted yay, primarily based on starting the process of public discussion, and hoping this will directly or indirectly bring jobs and prosperity to Hunt Co.
9. Everyone should read the meeting notes and the lease agreement since they are public record.
10. This is an agreement between two private entities, so when they get approval from any TX government agency, it doesn’t mean anything is not set in stone. Approval is not the same as funded. Right now they have no idea of where the money will come from, where the road will go or who will do what. There are many future opportunities for the public to voice their position.
11. I explained to Neal at Publicwerks that most Hunt Co. folks don’t look at the Greenville Herald everyday, nor do they search the civic websites since the median age of Precinct 2 is 58 yrs old. The focus on their land and families. That the future messaging must allow for everyone to get informed before any real action is decided upon. This will require all of us to be as informed as possible as we go to future meetings.
12. This is going to be a long process with many meetings that sound important but are not as they seem at first. The people affected can shape how this will look if it has to be done at all.
Only if we are all involved.
If anyone has any questions, email me.
There is a public meeting on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 9:00am at 2700 Johnson St., Greenville, TX in the Auxiliary Courtroom. It is a red brick building. The Hunt County Commissioners Court is also holding their regular bi-monthly meeting at the same location at 10:00am. PLEASE plan to attend both meetings. There will be time for you to speak. Each citizen can take a maxium of 3 minutes. The Commissioners Court will be voting on a resolution regarding support of the toll road. EVERYONE needs to contact their commissioner and express your opinion. More information about these meetings and their agendas can be found on the “Meetings” page of this site.
The NCTCOG Regional Transportation Council (RTC) meets again on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 1:00pm. The location of this meeting is:
TRANSPORTATION COUNCIL ROOM (1ST FLOOR)
NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
616 Six Flags Dr.
Arlington, TX 76011
We have been told the toll road project will be discussed. The agenda for the meeting is not yet posted on the NCTCOG website. I am not sure how open these meetings are. You may want to call ahead. We have been told both that they are open to the public and that they are not. Someone will need to show up in order to know for sure. At the very least I think people may be able to attend but probably not speak unless added to an agenda somehow. Here is a link to the RTC page on NCTCOG’s website. I think an agenda will be posted prior to the meeting.
Video — Click Here.
This is from the December 11, 2012 Wylie City Council meeting. The video presentation is very informative. To see the presentation in the video, look just under the video window and select the last item in the list “Work Session Item 2.” The presentation is long and you’ll probably have to turn your volume all the way up, but worth a listen. At about 36 minutes into the video a council member addresses the 100 feet issue, indicating that is not near enough width to build this highway.
Here is an excerpt from the full agenda. Click on the “Full Agenda” tab and scroll down toward the bottom for the WORKSESSION section.
- Presentation by John Crew, Public Werks, Inc. and discussion regarding a Letter of Support for a proposed Toll Road Project between Greenville Texas and the President George Bush Turnpike. (M. Manson, City Manager)
The Texas Turnpike Corporation (TTC) is a private toll road corporation that has legislative authority to build and operate toll roads in the State of Texas. Per the TTC representatives, the project is intended to alleviate traffic congestion in this area, specifically that of I-30 in Dallas and Rockwall counties. The proposed Phase 1 of the project would be built between Lavon and Greenville through a ground lease from the Northeast Texas Rural Rail Transportation District (NETEX). NETEX owns 88 miles of abandoned railroad right-of-way between Wylie and Mount Pleasant, which is commonly known as the Cotton Belt. As proposed, the project would ultimately connect with the President George Bush Turnpike.