Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cha-Ching! The Grand Parkway Scam. Bye-Bye Wetlands, Hello Concrete

It has been a slow burn, a low burn, and they’re hoping that no one shows up to object to the biggest scam since Teapot Dome. And only in Texas.

Like Senator Ted Stevens’ “Bridge to Nowhere”, the Fort Bend County Commission and the Fort Bend Tollroad Authority, and Jesus knows who else, are proposing to build the Tollroad to Nowhere. It’s true. The Grand Parkway, the outermost of the proposed ringroads around Houston, has been on the books for 40 years, and in that amount of time, 20 miles of it have been constructed from the Katy Freeway to US 59 in Sugar Land.

Now being proposed as a tollroad, costing nearly half a billion dollars, is a 177 mile stretch of the Grand Parkway arcing from US 59 around to State Highway 288.

Cited as a much-needed road to relieve traffic congestion, the proposed route cuts through 177 miles of Texas coastal plain . . . and nothing else. It will link nothing to nothing.

But what it will do is provide transportation routes to planned and unplanned development in and near Texas Gulf coastal wetlands. It is planned to be built adjacent to Brazos Bend State Park, one of the most fragile protected wetlands in Southeast Texas. More concrete to be poured to build yesterday’s transportation system.

It will destroy fragile ecosystems and encourage unchecked development of the self-same land.

The land in that area used to flood all the time. Brazos Bend State Park lands were donated to the state when proposed development of it went on the skids after surge from Hurricane Alicia put it under 30 feet of water. But in the meantime, Fort Bend County completed construction of the Big Creek flood control project. The area may still flood, but not if the county puts through plans to build a levee through the same area, a levee essentially built in order to hold back floodwaters from flooding unoccupied arable land. Now that is. Not unless they build houses, theaters and malls out there, concrete poured over both prime agricultural acreage and fragile wetlands.

No, let’s call the Grand Parkway Tollroad project exactly what it is, a scam to enrich landowners and developers who do not have the wherewithal to connect their developments to the rest of the world. They would prefer that all of us provide that wherewithal.

Tom Stavinoha, Fort Bend Precinct 1 commissioner, whose precinct stands to gain the most from construction of this tollroad, has said that it won’t be built unless it is a tollroad. No one has the money for this.

To that I say this: So don’t build it.

If this road is of value, then let those who stand to gain the most by its construction pay to construct it.

Don’t put it off on the citizens.

By the way, if you want to attend the public hearing on construction of the tollroad, it’s on for this coming Thursday.

When: 6 to 8 p.m. August 30, 2007

Where: Guy Lodge Hall at George Ranch Historical Park, 10215 FM 762 in Richmond.

Map here.

Stay tuned to this channel for more on this . . .


Susan said...

So it's your contention that pouring concrete all over the wetlands is not a good idea? What kind of anti-capitalist are you?

If a dime can be made, then let the rich white men who don't live here make it.

And how do you expect Tom Stavinoha live the life he's become accustomed to without collecting retirement from two government agencies and having a back-up consultant job with a landfill company when he retires?

Anonymous said...

I just spent 2 hours researching the tax rolls of Ft. Bend County. Segment C of the Grand Toll Rd has the ONLY property in Ft. Bend County that has DECREASED in value since the current route was mentioned back in 2000 or so.How could this happen?? ohhhhhh I dunno. But it's JOLLEY well time some reporter looked into it. We don't need VINTAGE HOMES ( a recent landowner with lowered tax values on 100 acres) building more on this beautiful unspoiled area. My property, just land value has increased. But if you have acreage of at the end of Peters Rd the convenient site of a new toll booth,you get your taxes lowered. Check it out. It's public record.I smell some rats, the 2 legged kind.

Anonymous said...

The exact market value of the 90.267 acres of land (very near the new toll road)that is owned by Vintage Homes, as shown on the 2007 tax rolls for Ft. Bend County is::::$67,710.00

Anonymous said...

Gee anonymous, take a pill.

Anonymous said...

From the Ft. Bend CAD site:::
The CAD appraisals are audited by the State each year. Appraisals must be 100% of market value to ensure that school districts will not loose any state funding.
What is Market Value?
A Section 1.04 of the Texas Property Code defines market value as follows: 'the price in which a property would transfer for cash or its equivalent under prevailing market conditions if: (A) exposed for sale in the open market with a reasonable time for the seller to find a purchaser: (B) both the seller and the purchaser know of all the uses and purposes to which the property is adapted and for which it is capable of being used and the enforceable restrictions on its use; and (C) both the seller and the purchaser seek to maximize their gains and neither is in a position to take advantage of the exigencies of the other".