NETEX meeting notes 1/9/2013

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.

2 thoughts on “NETEX meeting notes 1/9/2013

  1. I called Blackhills RR today and asked for the NETEX roll call vote record and a copy of the lease they agreed to with Publicwerks/TTC.
    The secretary said she couldn’t release anything without permission. She promised to inform me if it was denied or she will send me the copies requested. I didn’t ask for the meeting minutes since they would need to be converted to digital format. If we need them I assume we can ask for them in the future.

  2. This entire toll road concept is focused on one issue only- raising funds for NETEX/Blacklands RR to restore the rail system that they own. When statements are made about traffic congestion on I30 and other traffic related or bringing jobs to the area issues are all secondary, and purely selling points to the public to not resist the impacts of the fundraising hopefully gained by building a toll road.
    These secondary statements might be indirect results of a toll road being built, but the only reason for this project is raising money to conduct a new survey to lay track, buy steel rails for track and cross ties for the construction of a commercial RR along the land they currently own.
    This is the latest of many concepts of how to raise money to re build this RR, but the selling points of a high speed corridor to reduce traffic, etc are in no way directly tied to the real focus of NETEX. I am confident that they will push their charter to raise money by any profit making project to the absolute limits we the local community will accept.
    Given the lack of available funds from the Federal Government, and this being the only current profit project on the table, we the people can shape how this eventually turns out, if it is a good idea at all, (remember the 6-5 vote at NETEX with regards to the lease agreement).
    I personally feel there isn’t enough upfront profit in the first 15 years for NETEX to seriously undertake this project if they plan on realistically re building a commercial RR before 2030. ( note-John Crews stated it takes about 10 years before the toll road starts to show a return). So, after 10-15 years how much money will NETEX have for a RR? Then how much to you believe will be left over for Hunt and Colin Co. for infrastructure needs?
    I ask everyone to be as informed as possible, don’t feel overwhelmed by the scale of this project and remember you own your land. The more expensive this project becomes, the less likely it will ever be approved or funded. If NETEX and Publicwerks have not come to an agreement on all aspects of this tollroad by Dec 31st 2015, the agreement and arrangement will be terminated.( if I miss worded that, please correct me).

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