Generally, the masses and various cities' "officialdom" are against the Northeast Gateway. I think the developers have done a terrible job of selling their idea. I think they're trying to save costs, and their answer to that issue is not tell the people all the details. It backfired. The people sense the slight of hand without any of the major details.
Rowlett's mayor, Todd Gottel, caught some flak for seemingly delaying an official discussion about the toll way. His reason was that he didn't know enough. He was right. I don't think enough is known.........and it's the developer's job to tell us.
The area being served by the proposed tollway needs to have some additional surface transportation improvements. The existing roads are reaching their limit. Most certainly the area being served will grow......if the north central Texas economy grows.
There is a lot of discussion warranted for studies of the area, but the most immediate discussion is the toll road. As with Todd, I do not know enough about the details of the project.
I am kinda for the toll road if certain conditions are met. These conditions, if not met, would be deal breakers as far as I am concerned.
So, my vote, if you need a quick answer, is "no" unless certain conditions are met. However, if those conditions are met, I can see a positive effect for the general area being served.
The conditions are these:
1. No taxpayer liability......none.
2. Service roads and ample access ramps must be built.
3. The rights of Eminent Domain need defined.
The developers say the project is to be privately funded. That is okay, provided there is no taxpayer guarantees. The story in the DMN conflicts with some stories I heard in the rumor mill. First, it mentioned that the developers were still shopping for financing. However, the story I heard was that the developers were just about ready to drop the dozer blade. That dear people, is not possible in the real world. I won't go into all the details of that story. It would take far too long. However, it should be sufficent to say that unless the financing is in place, it would be stupid to start construction. I don't think the developer is stupid. However, I will say that if the developers can get taxpayer guarantees thru the State of Texas, that would substantially speed up the financing from private sources. No one has ever reported that government guarantees were on the table. Are they? If funding is totally private, then the people who utilize the toll road will pay for it. If you don't want to use it....don't.
Service roads and ample access ramps must be built. If not, surrounding lands could be land locked from development. That is taking land for their use, paying the underlying land owner, resulting in destroying the surrounding land values. This is very, very wrong. This is a deal breaker. The developers want value from the area for their use and profit and destroys the residual area economics for others. Any lawmaker that votes for this project without service roads and access ramps needs to be drummed out of "officialdom."
The issue of Eminent Domain is a very political discussion and we probably won't resolve the issue over the toll way. However, I think some rules can be established by contract. I think there can be some binding rules for this action. I'm not a lawyer. Probably need a good one to answer this question. I can only say, there should be some rules........slanted toward the land owner. It's a cost of doing business.