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GLOBALIZATION -
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US divided by superhighway plan

Posted in the database on Friday, June 16th, 2006 @ 13:00:59 MST (4729 views)
by Craig Howie    news.scotsman.com  

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(See article below - Bush Administration Quietly Plans NAFTA Super Highway)

A MASSIVE road four football fields wide and running from Mexico to Canada through the heartland of the United States is being proposed amid controversy over security and the damage to the environment.

The "nation's most modern roadway", proposed between Laredo in Texas and Duluth, Minnesota, along Interstate 35, would allow the US to bypass the west coast ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to import goods from China and the Far East into the heart of middle America via Mexico, saving both cost and time.

However, critics argue that the ten-lane road would lay a swathe of concrete on top of an already over-developed transport infrastructure and further open the border with Mexico to illegal immigrants or terrorists.

According to a weekly Conservative magazine published in the US, the US administration is "quietly yet systematically" planning the massive highway, citing as a benefit that it would negate the power of two unions, the Longshoremen and Teamsters.

Another source claimed the highway was a "bi-partisan effort" with support from both Republicans and Democrats that would reduce freight transport times across the nation by days.

Under the plan - believed to be an extension of a strategic transportation plan signed in March last year by the US president, George Bush, Paul Martin, the then prime minister of Canada, and Vincente Fox, the Mexican president - imported goods would pass a border "road bump" in the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas, before being loaded on to lorries for a straight run to a major hub, or "SmartPort", in Kansas, Oklahoma.

Border guards and customs officers would check the electronic security tags of lorries and their holds at a £1.6 million facility being built in Kansas City, before sending them on to the road network that links the US cities of Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit with Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver across the Canadian border.

Rail tracks and pipelines for oil and natural gas would run alongside the road.

Following the release of a 4,000-page environmental study, construction of the first leg of the Trans-Texas Corridor is reportedly due to begin next year, backed by US state and governmental agencies and a Spanish private sector company, Concessions de Infraestructuras de Transporte.

Tiffany Melvin, the executive director of Nasco, a non-profit organisation which has received £1.4 million from the US Department of Transport to study the proposal, said: "We're working on developing the existing system; these highways were developed in the 1950s and we have number of different programmes we're working on to provide alternative fuels and improve safety and security issues.

"We get comments that we are working to bring in terrorists and drug dealers, but this is simply not true.

"This is a bi-partisan effort that will ultimately improve our transportation infrastructure.

"Trade with China is increasing greatly, and the costs of our transportation system are ultimately born by the consumer.

"We do offer links to Canada and Mexico, but we are working on the trade competitiveness of America. We are planning for the future."

Eric Olson, the transportation spokesmen for the California-based Sierra Club, a national environmental awareness organisation, said the road would cause significant damage.

"Something on that scale would have a massive environmental impact," he said.

"Building a large-scale new highway does not seem like the best solution.

"There is a great need for fixing our existing roads and bridges. That needs to be a priority before we start building new massive road projects."

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Bush Administration Quietly Plans NAFTA Super Highway

by Jerome R. Corsi
Human Events

Quietly but systematically, the Bush Administration is advancing the plan to build a huge NAFTA Super Highway, four football-fields-wide, through the heart of the U.S. along Interstate 35, from the Mexican border at Laredo, Tex., to the Canadian border north of Duluth, Minn.


click to enlarge

Once complete, the new road will allow containers from the Far East to enter the United States through the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas, bypassing the Longshoreman’s Union in the process. The Mexican trucks, without the involvement of the Teamsters Union, will drive on what will be the nation’s most modern highway straight into the heart of America. The Mexican trucks will cross border in FAST lanes, checked only electronically by the new “SENTRI” system. The first customs stop will be a Mexican customs office in Kansas City, their new Smart Port complex, a facility being built for Mexico at a cost of $3 million to the U.S. taxpayers in Kansas City.

As incredible as this plan may seem to some readers, the first Trans-Texas Corridor segment of the NAFTA Super Highway is ready to begin construction next year. Various U.S. government agencies, dozens of state agencies, and scores of private NGOs (non-governmental organizations) have been working behind the scenes to create the NAFTA Super Highway, despite the lack of comment on the plan by President Bush. The American public is largely asleep to this key piece of the coming “North American Union” that government planners in the new trilateral region of United States, Canada and Mexico are about to drive into reality.

Just examine the following websites to get a feel for the magnitude of NAFTA Super Highway planning that has been going on without any new congressional legislation directly authorizing the construction of the planned international corridor through the center of the country.

NASCO, the North America SuperCorridor Coalition Inc., is a “non-profit organization dedicated to developing the world’s first international, integrated and secure, multi-modal transportation system along the International Mid-Continent Trade and Transportation Corridor to improve both the trade competitiveness and quality of life in North America.” Where does that sentence say anything about the USA? Still, NASCO has received $2.5 million in earmarks from the U.S. Department of Transportation to plan the NAFTA Super Highway as a 10-lane limited-access road (five lanes in each direction) plus passenger and freight rail lines running alongside pipelines laid for oil and natural gas. One glance at the map of the NAFTA Super Highway on the front page of the NASCO website will make clear that the design is to connect Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. into one transportation system.

Kansas City SmartPort Inc. is an “investor based organization supported by the public and private sector” to create the key hub on the NAFTA Super Highway. At the Kansas City SmartPort, the containers from the Far East can be transferred to trucks going east and west, dramatically reducing the ground transportation time dropping the containers off in Los Angeles or Long Beach involves for most of the country. A brochure on the SmartPort website describes the plan in glowing terms: “For those who live in Kansas City, the idea of receiving containers nonstop from the Far East by way of Mexico may sound unlikely, but later this month that seemingly far-fetched notion will become a reality.”

The U.S. government has housed within the Department of Commerce (DOC) an “SPP office” that is dedicated to organizing the many working groups laboring within the executive branches of the U.S., Mexico and Canada to create the regulatory reality for the Security and Prosperity Partnership. The SPP agreement was signed by Bush, President Vicente Fox, and then-Prime Minister Paul Martin in Waco, Tex., on March 23, 2005. According to the DOC website, a U.S.-Mexico Joint Working Committee on Transportation Planning has finalized a plan such that “(m)ethods for detecting bottlenecks on the U.S.-Mexico border will be developed and low cost/high impact projects identified in bottleneck studies will be constructed or implemented.” The report notes that new SENTRI travel lanes on the Mexican border will be constructed this year. The border at Laredo should be reduced to an electronic speed bump for the Mexican trucks containing goods from the Far East to enter the U.S. on their way to the Kansas City SmartPort.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is overseeing the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) as the first leg of the NAFTA Super Highway. A 4,000-page environmental impact statement has already been completed and public hearings are scheduled for five weeks, beginning next month, in July 2006. The billions involved will be provided by a foreign company, Cintra Concessions de Infraestructuras de Transporte, S.A. of Spain. As a consequence, the TTC will be privately operated, leased to the Cintra consortium to be operated as a toll-road.

The details of the NAFTA Super Highway are hidden in plan view. Still, Bush has not given speeches to bring the NAFTA Super Highway plans to the full attention of the American public. Missing in the move toward creating a North American Union is the robust public debate that preceded the decision to form the European Union. All this may be for calculated political reasons on the part of the Bush Administration.

A good reason Bush does not want to secure the border with Mexico may be that the administration is trying to create express lanes for Mexican trucks to bring containers with cheap Far East goods into the heart of the U.S., all without the involvement of any U.S. union workers on the docks or in the trucks.

Mr. Corsi is the author of several books, including "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry" (along with John O'Neill), "Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil" (along with Craig R. Smith), and "Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians." He is a frequent guest on the G. Gordon Liddy radio show. He will soon co-author a new book with Jim Gilchrist on the Minuteman Project.

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