FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2008
Austin — TxDOT announced today the department will no longer explore building the TTC 69 through undeveloped areas of East Texas.
"I am pleased with TxDOT's decision today. The department received comments from more than 28,000 Texas, and an overwhelming majority of them are from East Texas. There has been a huge groundswell of opposition to the construction of a new corridor, and I appreciate that TxDOT listened to the public."
As a former TxDOT Commissioner, Nichols studied the I-69 concept for many years. However, Nichols also expressed concerns about the future of any tolled segments of TTC 69 that may be financed by private companies.
"As the author of the moratorium on private toll roads, it was my hope that time, understanding and input from the citizens most impacted on the route would lead to good decisions."
Nichols, the Senate sponsor of the Landowner Bill of Rights, also believes TxDOT's recent decision will have a positive impact on private property owners in Texas.
"As a strong advocate of private property rights, I see this as a huge victory for the public. I believe utilizing existing infrastructure will be more cost efficient and have far less negative impact on family farms and small communities. I applaud East Texas families, the Texas Farm Bureau and other groups for speaking loud and clear about their objections. Their hard work paid off."
Nichols, who sits on the Senate Committee on Transportation and a select committee on Private Public Partnerships, also commented on the future of transportation policy in the State of Texas.
"I look forward to working with Governor Perry and newly appointed TxDOT Commissioner Delisi to implement good transportation policy in Texas. Both are leaders in innovative transportation policy. Making the decision to use the existing highway footprint is a good example of TxDOT working with the public. It is a sensible solution to a serious problem."