Public needs more information
Published 8:47 am Saturday, April 30, 2016
To the Editor:
The author of the April 23-24th Orange Leader column, “Recap of the SH 105 Toll [Road] being discussed,” states that the toll road is “a very real plan.” A “real plan” implies that a lot of study has gone into the proposal. So far, the information shared with the public is sketchy. The toll road developers should do the following as soon as possible:
- Provide the public with studies that detail the traffic and financial projections.
- Identify on a map specifically what “multiple routes” are “being discussed,” and by whom.
- Identify how many acres of land would be destroyed by each of these routes, and what types of land, e.g., forest, wetlands.
- Identify who owns the land for the parts of the routes that are privately owned.
- Identify where are the interchanges are proposed to be.
- Identify when the Texas Department of Transportation is expected to sign a Comprehensive Development Agreement with the toll road developers, which is required for this proposal.
- Identify when the toll road developers expect to ask the regional transportation planning commission to add this road proposal to the Transportation Improvement Program, so that the public can be alerted to participate in this important decision.
- Identify whether the toll road will be a part of the federal highway-aid system, meaning the state and Orange County may be entitled to future federal gas tax dollars for upkeep. If not, identify who is responsible for the long-term maintenance and care of the road.
- And lastly, provide a guarantee to the public that there will be “no taxpayer exposure” as stated in the column, and identify who will be responsible for the road if the “private capital” involved goes bankrupt.
If the “plan” isn’t “real” enough at this point to answer all these items, then it’s not a “very real plan” yet, and the road developers need to issue a schedule to the public as to when this information will be made available to all.