Toll road opponents plan 'Super Tuesday'
Opponents of a proposed toll road between Greenville and far northeastern Dallas County plan to present their objections to elected officials throughout the area on Tuesday.
The activist group Texans United for Reform and Freedom (TURF) plans to hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. on Tue. Oct. 14 in front of the Hunt County Auxiliary Courtroom at 2700 Johnson St. in Greenville. TURF also plans to make its case during the Hunt County Commissioners Court meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. at that same location.
The organization has announced intentions to have supporters present later that evening at city council meetings in Caddo Mills, Greenville, Royse City and Rowlett. Organizers are referring to the coordinated activities as "Super Tuesday."
Six cities along the proposed road’s possible pathway – Fate, Lavon, Nevada, Rockwall, Sachse and Wylie – have passed resolutions opposing the proposed toll road.
Dallas-based Texas Turnpike Corp. has not released a specific route for the road, called Northeast Gateway. The company has published maps showing a number of possible pathways. The company recently hosted open-house events in Greenville, Rowlett, Royse City and Wylie. Many attendees at those events expressed frustration that a definite route for the proposed road was unavailable.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments Transportation Division has yet to determine whether the proposed road will be included in the regional transportation plan. A feasibility study conducted by the agency has recommended in favor of the toll road, but the recommendation does not become policy unless it is incorporated into the next publication of the regional plan.
The agency’s Regional Transportation Council plans to review the proposal on Nov. 13. It remains unclear whether the recommendation in favor of the toll road will be presented in its current form at that meeting. Transportation director Michael Morris told the Dallas Morning News on Friday that his staff might change their recommendation favoring the toll road before then.
The recommendation was published shortly before agency staff encountered a strong anti-toll road presence at a public meeting in Rockwall on Sept. 22. At that event, the last in a series of meetings on the topic hosted by the North Central Texas Council of Governments, over 1,200 attended and were almost unanimous in their opposition to the project.
That opposition, as well as other public input, resulted in the Regional Transportation Council's meeting on the topic being rescheduled from October to November, according to an Oct. 3 release by the transportation division.
One key aspect of the situation is that Texas Turnpike Corp. is one of the very few private entities in Texas that have the right to use eminent domain privileges to make land available for development.
At the Nov. 13 meeting, the Regional Transportation Council is also scheduled to adopt a legislative agenda, including a position on the right of private companies to use eminent domain. The Texas Legislature will convene in January 2015.