Thursday night hundreds of Grimes County residents wanted to make sure TxDOT heard them loud and clear: no Trans-Texas Corridor on their land. The state has proposed building I-69 through Walker and Grimes Counties, but the road received a chilly reception at a public hearing in Navasota.
If there was any question about where Grimes County stands on the issue of the Trans-Texas Corridor, the signs and the folks at the door could help clear that up. Around 550 people packed into the Grimes County Expo Center, and 60 signed up to talk. Chances are, the employees at TxDOT have heard it all before, but they listened anyway. "People get very animated you might say and very upset. A lot of this land has been in their families for many many years," said Bob Colwell of TxDOT.
"Its analogous to taking an old historic quilt that your great grandmother made and cutting it up and using it for a dust rag. Why in the world?" said one speaker.
The public hearing was standing room only, and no one seemed to be standing in favor of the super highway. "I never knew that my parenting skills would be needed as Grimes County Judge, but what part of no don't you understand?" said Betty Shiflett.
"Most of the people in grimes county don't want it at all, but if you're gonna build it, use some common sense and follow what we've already got," said another resident. It was a sentiment echoed by several people.
"I believe we can use existing Highways and that we should use existing highways," said a speaker. TxDOT employees couldn't respond to the comments, but the opinions will be sent to Austin to become part of the public record. Whether or not they pave the way for change remains to be seen.
TxDot will hold its next public forum Monday in Bryan, at the Civic Auditorium. The open house will start at five, with public comments beginning at 6:30.