Toll road opponents rally in Austin

AUSTIN, TX The Trans-Texas Corridor, a proposed network of superhighway toll roads, rankles opponents who characterize it as the largest government grab of private property in the state's history and an unneeded and improper expansion of toll roads.

Rally participants carried signs with slogans like "No TTC!" and "Whodoes TTC benefit?" while listening to the band the Texicans play "The Trans-Texas Corridor Blues," the Austin American-Statesman reported for its Sunday editions.

"In a nutshell, we are against it because of the devastation it's going to cause rural and urban landowners, the effect it will have on the middle class and the consequences it will have on our liberty," said Hank Gilbert of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom.

Texas Department of Transportation officials and Perry have defended the project as necessary to address future traffic concerns in one of the nation's fastest-growing states. They also say the project is vital because of insufficient road revenues from the state gas tax and the federal government.

Cost of the project has been estimated at approaching $200 billion, and it could take as long as 50 years to complete.

Supporters of the corridor and toll roads say they are the only way the state's growth can be accommodated without hiking gasoline taxes.

"Texans need and deserve real solutions to our growing traffic challenges, not just blind opposition to new lane and highway construction," said Bill Noble, a spokesman for Texans for Safe Reliable Transportation, a pro-toll roads group. "Every day we delay building new roads means higher construction costs and more frustration for drivers."

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