For the last year, Texas landowners have been engaged in a battle with a proposed high-speed rail land grab. Until now, a limited number of them have been involved, but in 2016 that changed. News has spread the ‘preferred route’ moved further west, then further east, then back west as it travels north toward Dallas from Houston. Landowners potentially affected were primarily ranchers and rural folks, but more and more homeowners with small acreage are receiving letters from Texas Central Partners for permission to survey. Lately, even homeowners in gated subdivisions have received these letters.
TCP has put in action a plan to take from property owners’ land used to grow the beef, fowl, vegetables and fruit found at local farmers markets and grocery stores. Much of these commodities are organically grown, as opposed to imported foods. The taking of land from homeowners with small acreage removes their ability to be self-sustaining.
Recently, Eli Lilly and Company released a groundbreaking food security movement statement. “Humanity is using the resource equivalent of 1.6 earths a year. Never has there been more urgency around discussing food security; …by 2050 experts say demand for meat milk and eggs will increase 60 percent.” As Texas governing body, are you willing to assume responsibility for allowing Texas Central Partners to wrest from Texas taxpayers a large swath of agricultural land currently supplying us with these very commodities, simply to travel between only two of Texas’ many cities just a few minutes faster, when excellent methods of travel already exist?
In the 2015 legislative session SB 474 was not passed. This bill would have been a buffer to landowners, allowing them to use our court system to obtain a fair price for land they have no desire to sell. Although SB 474 would have only attempted to give them just compensation, it would have given them good faith to repurchase land and reestablish their farms and ranches. Yet it still failed.
Taxpayers noticed. To those who own a home, business or land, this issue is very important. Legislators who truly care about their constituents are listening. This should encourage the others to pay attention. March 1st should bring answers. As legislators, are you prepared?
Also not passed in 2015 was a rider to the state budget ensuring no public tax money, nothing from the state coffers, would be used toward the funding of any high-speed rail project. Rather than taking a firm and bold stand for all Texas taxpayers, Budget Committee members chose instead to take the word of Texas Department of Transportation officials that no funds would be allocated. Taxpayers did not let that go unnoticed. Let that sink in.
If you are a voting taxpayer reading this article, I am asking you to get involved. This will affect you. If it doesn’t take your land, your taxes will be used to subsidize this project. California is experiencing this very thing with the high-speed rail, and it is still under construction. The opportunity to prevent it from destroying the landscape of our beautiful state is now, before the first tracks are laid; before the first land is forced from the hands of private landowners.
Contact WallerCountyAdvocacyGroup.com and on Facebook and TexansAgainstHSR.com and on Facebook. Contact your legislator by phone or mail: fyi.legis.state.tx.us
We are volunteers helping each other hold on to their property and we need your help.
A very concerned citizen,
Rhonda Page Jordan
Governor Greg Abbott
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick
Chairman Tryon D. Lewis
Commissioner Jeff Austin III
Commissioner J. Bruce Bugg Jr.
Commissioner Jeff Moseley
Commissioner Victor Vandergriff
The Waller Times
Waller County News Citizen
Dallas Morning News