09.04.08

Covey, Long Choose to send SH-29 corridor/toll road south of Liberty Hill

Posted in Bad Government Republicans, Commissioners Court, County Attorney, Election 2008, Precinct 1, Precinct 2, Precinct 3, SH 29, Williamson County at 9:05 am by wcnews

While from the standpoint of displacing homeowners and ultimately, for them – cheaper start-up costs (buying land) – the south was probably their preference from the beginning. Here’s a link to the text of the email Commissioner’s Valerie Covey and Cynthia Long sent out announcing their decision. After going through, again, an attempt to justify the need for this action now we get to the meat of the announcement.

After much study, we have also concluded that Highway 29 cannot be expanded on the existing road through the Liberty Hill area due to engineering and environmental issues and the exorbitant increase in the cost of the project. As a result, we have selected the southern bypass alignment from the Burnet County Line to Ronald Reagan Blvd. The selection of the southern alignment is also intended to minimize the amount of residential and business displacement in the area.

[...]

This SH 29 expansion will NOT be built until it is needed; construction would take place only when overall traffic volumes significantly increase, resulting in traffic congestion at both peak and non-peak periods. We estimate that the road would not be built for at least 15 years, depending on traffic counts and safety issues along the highway.

By working to preserve options for SH 29 today, we are able to focus on the purchase of land, rather than the purchase of land and buildings in an effort to reduce the cost to our taxpayers. We also believe that by informing people today about where the road will go in the future — at least 15 years into the future — everyone can plan better.

Notice there is no “need” for this road for at least 15 years. In the AAS Commissioner Long is saying something a little different.

Construction of Texas 29 is not expected to begin for 20 to 25 years, Long said, but the county wants to have a plan in place and land in hand before the need arises.

“We’d rather be buying dirt than buying dirt and buildings,” Long said. “Every day we wait will have an impact on more people and the bottom line.”

15, 20, 25, whatever it takes. But the AAS at least gave some time to those who live south of Liberty Hill.

The plans to expand Texas 29 through the mostly rural area has upset some residents, who don’t want a major highway through the area.

J.T. Cox, who owns land where the bypass would connect back to the current roadway, said he is “in total, 100 percent opposition” to having the highway bypass Liberty Hill and to the chosen route south of town because he thinks future growth in Liberty Hill will be to the north. He said the county would have to buy a little less than an acre of his land, and “I ain’t no willing seller.”

Cox also had this to say about the response he’s gotten from elected officials in Williamson County:

Judge Gattis: no return calls or emails
Sonny Gattis: no return calls or emails, especially when I did as instructed.
Valerie Covey: history
Cynthia Long: I’m thinking about running for her job
John Carter: can’t talk to me
State Sen. Ogden: pretty good talk from his secretary, don’t count

It’s doubtful that will surprise anyone. When faced with a tough issue most of these folks just hide and hope it goes away. That’s what happens when elected officials believe they can’t be voted out. While this deal is moving forward, it’s not done yet, and this key sentence from the AAS story shows out the only option left.

County commissioners are expected to vote on the transportation plan at the beginning of the year.

If this is to be stopped, the two incumbent commissioners on the ballot in November, (Covey and Lisa Birkman), can’t be reelected. If they’re no longer in office in January 2009 they can’t vote for it. Removing those two will show the three remaining on the court that citizens are serious, and will vote them out. So vote for Greg Windham, Mike Grimes, and Jaime Lynn in November to bring accountability back to government in Williamson County.

4 Comments »

  1. DrFuzzy said,

    September 5, 2008 at 1:44 am

    What happens if none of us property owners agree to voluntarily sell our land?

    After all, the County can only pay fair market value for the 300′ strip of land they want to preserve. They can’t legally pay a premium.

    If you want to sell your land at market value, just put an ad in the paper!

    Watch out for Texas to follow Florida’s example to allow eminent domain for corridor preservation: Texas Corridor Survey, 2008.

    –LibertyHillRiver.ORG

  2. wcnews said,

    September 5, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Yes, if someone isn’t a “willing” seller, they’ll take it from you, via eminent domain.

    Also the 15, 20, 25 year game is being played to make people think this isn’t going to happen anytime soon. They hope that will make enough people put this on a back-burner and forget about it, for now. That won’t work with the people in the path of this thing but there hoping it will tamp down enough to get them through November.

  3. FedUp said,

    September 5, 2008 at 10:06 am

    I hope no one minds this post which came from K29L website. I thought it is worth snote: to prevent spam, comments with multiple links to other sites may be held for approval by the moderator.

    260 Responses to “Speak Up!”
    Pages: [26] 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 … 1 » Show All

    260Debbie Evans Says:

    September 4th, 2008 at 11:36 pm
    EVERYONE NEEDS TO LOOK AT THE 29 STUDY TRANSPORTATION PLAN.

    Does the section of NEW road between 200 and 214 look familiar? It should…it was part of the northern route that still skirts Sundance.

    With all of these new modifications to all of the roads marked, how in the world would there ever be a need for a loop of any kind? Bumping 200 to a 4 lane road…there are 2 new roads…214 (4 lanes in their plan) will connect to 183.

    All I can say…what happened to the smaller foot print?
    Covey and Long have a vision for this area and it is one I do not share. If I was in Covey’s precinct I would run against her just to detract votes from her.

    I have not seen any new report that they based their decision on. I have seen no proof that they fixed the errors in the previous data. And the new transporation plan? Wow. Those definately need to be configured into LOS figures. But my big problem with the Transportation Plan…when exactly were we consulting about how our communities would develop…I’m asking because apparently I missed that meeting.

    Covey and Long, you are no longer worthy of the job the Republican voters gave you. You have over stepped your bounds and you have put your vision before the needs and ideas of those who actually live here, some of them have roots that run deeper than anything you seem capable of imagining. I am ashamed to have you on a Republican ticket. You are not worthy to have the R beside your name Commissioner Covey.

    It is wrong to spend tax payers money on projects that no one in the community supports. It is wrong to make a plan to shape a community without making sure it is a plan the people who live there want. That transportation plan that will be funded with our blood sweat and tears…should not be implemented without our stamp of approval.

    Oh…and by the way. That was really funny about how you have been meeting with residents for almost a year…try less than 3 months. And those 3 open houses with 600 people mentioned in your lovely little email??? I know for a fact that at least 400+ of those 600 you mention were at the August 4th meeting. How do I know? I was one of the last to sign in and I was there when the girl there was counting them. Why was I one of the last? Because I was busy meeting with your contractors who told me that other than telling me I was right…all I could do beyond that was fill out question and comment cards…which I still haven’t heard back on…

    Your days of missrepresenting data are coming to an end Commissioner Covey. As are yours “Commissioner” Long.
    haring here.

  4. doctorj said,

    September 5, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Fed Up,

    My name is Jason Kendall and I’m Greg Windham’s Campaign Manager. We really appreciate your comments, and would like to ask you to write a letter to the editor of the SUN that is reflective of these said comments. We all have a stake in this fight. Please write the Sun and sign your name. We believe your words can help us.
    JK -standourground.com

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