Fran Sage (432) 364-2362 or Roger Siglin (432) 364-2399
Big Bend Regional Sierra Club 50 Sunny Glen Road, Alpine, TX 79830
SEMI TRUCKS THREATEN BIG BEND HERITAGE
La Entrada Truck Corridor would blast
through tiny downtown Marfa & Historic
The Big Bend Regional Sierra Club views with alarm the plan for the proposed La Entrada al Pacifico Corridor. The route would come from the, as-yet undeveloped West Mexican seaport of Topolobampo, Mexico. As planned, the corridor would pass through Chihuahua City on to the Texas border Port of Entry at Presidio then north to Midland/Odessa.
Mexican long-haul trucking is being given the green light by the United States Department of Transportation. A pilot program including truck inspections will be in place in about 60 days from now.
ENVIRONMENTALISTS PROPOSE ALTERNATIVES FOR LA ENTRADA PLAN
The proposed route would pass through the small towns of Marfa and Alpine, Texas.
The plan for trucks to travel directly down the main streets in Marfa and Alpine raises concerns about the health, safety, and business impacts to the growing tourism economy which relies upon the appeal of these desert and mountain towns.
Citizens of Alpine and Marfa want Tx DOT to develop alternative routes that can be upgraded to avoid heavy traffic flowing through the area.
"Out here scenery, tranquility, and a rural way of life have attracted people seeking relief from congested cities. The route proposed in the La Entrada plan would encourage a huge influx of massive, polluting semis that would ruin the heritage of the Big Bend area's beautiful, wide open spaces," said Don Dowdey, Chair of the Big Bend Sierra Club. "For the sake of everyone who would preserve this refuge from urban life, Texas Department of Transportation (Tx DOT) must at the very least prepare an alternative route.
They can upgrade the railroad to encourage rail traffic which is more efficient and less disruptive. The truck route can bypass Marfa and they can make the necessary improvements on Route 90 between Marfa and Van Horn."
Tx DOT is undertaking a feasibility study on the proposed corridor which was originally conceived by the Midland/Odessa Transportation Alliance (MOTRAN).
SOLUTIONS WOULD PRESERVE ENVIRONMENT AND STILL BENEFIT WEST TEXAS COMMUNITIES
With the opening of the interior of the United States to long haul trucking from Mexico, the Sierra Club believes it is critical to find solutions to the serious environmental impact such traffic would have.
Furthermore, the Sierra Club believes that the Texas Pacifico Transportation (the old South Orient) railroad should be upgraded to move truck traffic on its lines currently reaching from Presidio to its connection to the Burlington Northern, northeast of San Angelo.
"La Entrada must meet National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) standards.
Alpine and Marfa citizens do not want their economies damaged, and their health and safety threatened," said Roger Siglin, Transportation Chair for the Big Bend Regional Sierra Club. "Increasing trade in the Big Bend area can be achieved without destroying the small communities."
TURNOUT EXPECTED AT TX DOT PUBLIC MEETINGS OVER NEXT TWO WEEKS
Tx DOT is taking comments at the first round in a series of three sets of meetings being held in Presidio, Alpine, Midland, and Ft. Stockton over the next two weeks. For more information about these meetings, contact Tx DOT at 486-5024.
The meeting in Alpine, Texas, on March 13, 2007, at the Alpine High School
will be from 6-8 p.m.
The Sierra Club expects the Alpine meeting to be well attended with concerns expressed strongly. While there may be support in the other cities, opposition is almost total in the Alpine and Marfa area.