21 August 2006 at 8:25:46 AM
First off, I read a press release on Radnofsky's site about Zachry and TxDot farming plans and pepsi went all over the monitor!
TxDOT-Zachry introduced the "Big Planters," or "BP project" at its permanent office in the Texas Capitol.
"Soil importation from Spain begins next year," said Teddy Smith, TxDOT-Zachry director of communications, describing the multi-billion dollar project to import farming soil from the Zachry Ag-Tex subsidiary based in Valencia. "TxDOT will fill these giant concrete planters with soil to replace the original Blackland Prairie, once some of the richest farmland in the United States, that was buried under the estimated fifty trillion tons of TTC concrete throughout the state. New farming operations to harvest crops from the giant concrete planters lining the tollways will serve as the source of farmland substitutes for the millions of acres displaced over the last 50 years. Artificial trees will absorb 93% of the pollutants produced by the estimated fifty trucks that daily use the Trans-Texas corridor." [Editor's note: trucking was a mode of shipping using vehicles powered by fossil fuels used widely in the 20th Century. Trucks are now greatly prized by collectors and museums.]
Details for an air concession agreement have not been finalized, although TxDOT-Zachry has begun studying the toll rate methodology for how toll rates of such air will be set. Tolls will be set at fair market prices. "If it is too expensive, breathers are free not to not use that air," said Smith. TxDOT-Zachry has an exclusive, no-bid contract with itself to purchase air options throughout its corridor, and to obtain all needed air rights through eminent domain once the Tier 2 planning phase begins.
"The construction contract for the massive concrete enclosures used in the Big Planters project, and the transfer of millions of acres of soil, after considerable independent study, has been awarded to Cintra-Zachry, which has announced that the project will be completed by 2107.
The project will be funded with tolls levied on farmers who enter the corridor to harvest the crops and on ranchers who graze their livestock on TxDOT-Zachry planter rangeland.
On a more serious note (besides the fact that, gravely, the Blacklands WILL be scooped out and paved over by Perry and His Minions), Zachry, who not only has the other half of the TTC deal, but has contributed heavily to Kay Bailey Hutchison's campaign, has taken offense at even being mentioned by the Radnofsky campaign, particularly when she spoke out publicly about them in Rockwall at the public TTC meeting.
Vicky Waddy, spokeswoman for Zachry Construction, the highway construction giant whose family members and political action committee constitute one of Sen. Hutchison's largest contributors, complained to Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Barbara Ann Radnofsky over Radnofsky's coverage of the company in press releases concerning the Trans-Texas Corridor.
Radnofsky's campaign manager Seth Davidson explained: "Zachry Construction called and was extremely upset. They demanded to know 'What is the purpose of using the Zachry name in your campaign release? And, what is the reference to Rockwall--we don't even have any projects in Rockwall right now.'"
Radnofsky, returning from three days in Rockwall, where she and other citizens turned out in force for the last Trans-Texas Corridor public hearing, responded to Zachry:
"Zachry Construction Company received $987,436,908 from TxDOT in contracts, ranking second in money contracts awarded between January, 2001 and December, 2004. The Zachry family and the Zachry PAC donated massively to my opponent, who voted for tolling projects in the federal highway bill and who has spoken publicly about wanting to build the Trans-Texas Corridor. She's wrong. We don't need this corrupt, wasteful, highway tolling project. We need a modern transportation policy for Texas and a free highway system.
"Sen. Hutchison should return the many thousands of dollars she has received during this election cycle from Zachry-related interests, and the even larger amounts she received from other entities standing to benefit from the Trans-Texas Corridor."
The Radnofsky releases were sent in connection with the Rockwall hearing on the Trans-Texas Corridor, a 50-year plus project that creates eight massive toll roads cutting swaths throughout Texas, in large part by taking private land from citizens, by privatizing the core of the state's transportation system, and by tolling drivers to pay for the $183.5 billion project.
Radnofsky continued: "The concession contract I discussed in Rockwall, sections five and six of the Highway 130 project, for example, greatly favors the Cintra-Zachry team, which will receive the lion's share of profits. The negotiators for this contract quite literally gave away the farm--only it wasn't theirs to give.
"Texans cannot afford these corrupt concession contracts, negotiated in secret and planned across Texas on a scale that boggles the imagination, taking private property and taxing Texans with tolls for roads that will be obsolete by the time they are completed."
Zachry Construction's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families rank #7 in donations to the Hutchison campaign, having given $25,600 during this election cycle. (Source: OpenSecrets.org).
The campaign press releases triggering Zachry's reaction are available at www.radnofsky.com.
Strikes me that Zachry liked it just fine before people realized what they are doing as a company with the TTC and they would like to keep it quiet.
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