Friday, April 16, 2010

New toll road documentary "Truth Be Tolled" wins award

News from Bill Molina about his latest documentary . . . Bill’s original award-winning “Truth Be Tolled” movie that concentrated on the Trans-Texas Corridor was very informative and had a big influence in mobilizing state-wide opposition to the TTC. His latest edition, “Truth Be Tolled (281 Special Edition)” is about the proposed transformation of the free highway 281 in San Antonio to a tollway. This documentary, Bill reports, “has just been nominated for a 2010 REMI Award and is an Official Selection of the 43rd Annual WorldFest-Houston International Film and Video Festival.”

The premiere festival screening was April 13 in Houston. More info from Bill: “WorldFest ( is one of the oldest and largest film & video competitions in the world, with more than 4,500 category entries received from 37 countries in 2009. So to win here is quite a significant honor. The Festival will screen just 55-60 feature films and 100 Short Film Premieres, with a complete and absolute emphasis on the American and International Independent feature films and with a continuing annual spotlight on an individual country and its films.”

For more information about the film:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More time to comment on CAMPO's hazardous freight rail bypass

My previous post was about commenting on the hazardous freight rail bypass through Southeastern Central Texas that is in CAMPO’s 2035 Transportation Plan. Their deadline to comment on this bypass was April 12. CAMPO now has announced an extension of this deadline until May 14. There also is an additional public hearing to be held on May 10. Their message is below.

“Following work on the draft 2035 plan's policy framework by the CAMPO Policies and Resolutions Committee, the CAMPO Transportation Policy Board released the document for public review and comment on April 12th. Because the policy framework, including the draft Plan's goals, objectives and policies, is substantially different from what was distributed with the draft CAMPO 2035 Plan in March, the public comment period on the entire 2035 Plan, including the policy framework, has been extended until May 14th and a second public hearing on the draft Plan has been scheduled for May 10th.

“The public comment period now ends at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 14th; the second public hearing will take place on Monday, May 10th at a meeting beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center, 500 East Cesar Chavez Street (CAMPO has arranged for free parking for the public hearing).

“An on-line comment form for the draft plan is available until 5:00 p.m. on May 14th.”

To see the map with the bypass on it, please go to and click on the 2035 Transportation Plan in the top paragraph. The map is on page 35. Putting a hazardous freight rail bypass through our area will cause environmental and social damage. Please send your comments to CAMPO asking them NOT to put this bypass in their 2035 Plan.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hazardous Freight Rail Bypass through Eastern Central Texas

The CAMPO 2035 Draft Transportation Plan shows a Hazardous Materials Rail Bypass between FM 973 and Coupland. If you are in the Southeastern Williamson or Eastern Travis County area, please be aware of this proposal.

You can send comments to CAMPO about this bypass; the deadline is April 13.

There are many reasons that the proposed rail bypass is not a good idea. The rationale for the bypass is to free up the line through Austin for passenger rail. However, there is not enough demand for passenger rail between these cities, and there is not enough public transportation to move passengers around these cities if they arrive by train. There will not be enough passengers paying enough for tickets to support the service. Texas and local taxpayers will all be paying for the rail transportation of relatively few passengers.

Since there is no need for the passenger rail through Austin, there is no need for the proposed bypass through the SE Williamson/E Travis Co. area.

The bypass will cause the unnecessary destruction of all the natural and cultural resources that will need to be studied in the Environmental Impact Statement that will be required for this project. The land east of Austin is part of the Blackland Prairie that is ranked as some of the most valuable farmland in the world by authorities such as National Geographic. (September 2008, “Our Good Earth—The future rests on the soil beneath our feet—Can we save it?”) The map on page 92 shows the Blackland Prairie through Central Texas as “highly fertile” and “highly fertile at risk.”

The bypass will unnecessarily cause damage to the natural resources, such as farmland, streams, vegetation, and wildlife. The bypass also will damage the cultural resources of communities, historic sites, and residences.

If rail advocates are determined to build this unnecessary bypass, they should place it along SH 130. SH 130 already forms a corridor east of Austin and already has overpasses. Use SH 130 rather than tearing up more land and dividing communities.

To send in comments, please go to:
At the top of the page, there are links to see the entire CAMPO plan and a link to the comment page.
The section is entitled “Public Comment Opportunity on the draft 2035 Plan.”
The deadline for comments is April 13 at 5 p.m.