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March 17, 2013: Greenville Herald-Banner Runs Guest Editorial on Proposed Blacklands Turnpike.

John Crew, President of Texas Turnpike Corporation, had the recent opportunity to submit a guest editorial addressing concerns of the proposed Blacklands Turnpike, a four-lane toll road between Lavon and Greenville. In his editorial, Mr. Crew detailed the transportation challenges and needs facing north central Texas. He also took this opportunity to explain how and why the proposed Blacklands Turnpike would help address those infrastructure challenges. Crew’s article appeared in the Sunday, March 17th, 2013 edition of the Greenville Herald-Banner.

Click here to read the article online.

February 5, 2013: Meeting with Dr. Jones; Making the Case to Texas A&M/Commerce President.

Following the Commerce Lions Club luncheon, Neal, John and Steve met with Dr. Jason Lee Davis, Texas A&M/Commerce Associate Professor of Engineering & Technology, to discuss the project. They were later joined by Dr. Delbert Horton, the Chairman of the Sulphur River Regional Mobility Authority (SRRMA) for an hour-long meeting.

Afterward, the group made its way across campus to the office of Dr. Dan Jones, President of Texas A&M Commerce. During the informational meeting, John, Neal and Steve brought Dr. Jones up to date on the proposed Blacklands Turnpike. While stopping short of any formal endorsement of the project, President Jones expressed his concerns for the economy of the region and the City of Commerce, and his support for infrastructure improvements that would aid students in their commutes to the University.

Respected Hunt County Judge John Horn has given his enthusiastic support to the proposed Blacklands Turnpike. In a recent interview with The Dallas Morning News, Judge Horn commented, “I think the opportunity it brings for the eastern part of the North Texas region is very positive, and not just for Hunt County, but with collateral benefits for the counties east of us.”

February 5, 2013: Neal Barker, Texas Turnpike Corporation, Speaks at Commerce Lions Club; TTC Explains Blacklands Turnpike to Civic Group.

Neal Barker, of Texas Turnpike Corporation, addressed the local Lions Club in Commerce, TX this past Tuesday. Neal had the opportunity to share the vision of the proposedBlacklands Turnpike with about fifty interested residents. He presented a PowerPoint explanation of the possible four-lane toll road and declared that the State of Texas must meet the serious challenges of a rapidly growing population.

In his well-received talk, Neal outlined what growth would mean for the state’s already-stressed highways and bridges. “Traffic congestion is only going to get worse as more people move to Texas in the coming years,” he said. “The opportunity before us is to prepare for this coming growth in ways that make sense and will help us improve our quality of life in North Central Texas.”

Neal was joined at the noon luncheon by Texas Turnpike Corporation President John Crew and partner Stephen McCullough. Neal and John answered questions from the audience for about 20 minutes following Neal’s remarks.

January 26, 2013: County Commissioner Jay Atkins Hosts Public Forum; Caddo Mills Citizens Voice Concerns.

Three days after casting the lone vote against the proposed Blacklands Turnpike, Precinct Two County Commissioner Jay Atkins hosted his regularly scheduled constituent meeting on Saturday, January 26, 2013. Approximately 140 residents turned out to voice their opposition to the project. Com. Atkins made his opposition–and his previous vote–also clear, although he repeatedly conceded that the coming growth in population of Texas–and especially North Central Texas–was an inescapable reality and that something must be done to relieve traffic congestion in the region. Opponents described concerns regarding homes and property value, fearing their quiet way of life would be jeopardized.

Throughout the two-hour meeting, Turnpike advocates Neal Barker and Stephen McCullough remained calm and respectful and answered dozens of questions with grace and poise. Many of these questions–and their answers–can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions section of www.cottonbeltcorridor.com.

January 23, 2013: Greenville Meeting Packed; Concerned Citizens Turn Out for Public Hearing.

Hunt County Judge John Horn presided over a sometimes emotional public hearing on the subject of the proposed Blacklands Turnpike on January 23, 2013. While many spoke against the measure, there were also supporters, including a spokeswoman for the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, who shared the results of an overwhelming vote from the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She pointed out that the Chamber supported the proposed toll road because it would not increase the tax burden, would help to improve the infrastructure of the region and enhance economic opportunity in the City of Greenville and surrounding communities.

Opponents spoke of likely dislocations, property values and short notice concerning the possible highway construction project.

January 21, 2013: Sachse City Council hears from Turnpike Supporters.

Neal Barker, John Crew and Steve McCullough from Texas Turnpike Corporation presented their proposal for the “Blacklands Turnpike” to city officials during a 7:30 pm meeting of the City Council on January 21, 2013. Their proposal was well-received by city councilors.