Coming Through! The NAFTA Super Highway
by Kelly Taylor
August 7, 2006
The planned NAFTA Super Highway would radically reconfigure not only the physical landscape of these United States, but our political and economic landscapes as well. Kelly Taylor is an Austin-based writer and filmmaker, and the producer of a politically based TV talk show.
All across America, mammoth construction projects are preparing to launch. The NAFTA Super Highway is on a fast track and it’s headed your way. If you don’t help derail it, you may soon be run over by it – both figuratively and literally.
The NAFTA Super Highway is a venture unlike any previous highway construction project. It is actually a daisy chain of dozens of corridors and coordinated projects that are expected to stretch out for several decades, cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and end up radically reconfiguring not only the physical landscape of these United States, but our political and economic landscapes as well.
In Texas, the NAFTA Super Highway is being sold as the Trans Texas Corridor. In simplest terms, the TTC is a superhighway system including tollways for passenger vehicles and trucks; lanes for commercial and freight trucks; tracks for commuter rail and high-speed freight rail; depots for all rail lines; pipelines for oil, water, and natural gas; and electrical towers and cabling for communication and telephone lines. One of the proposed corridor routes, TTC-35, is parallel to the present Interstate Highway 35 (I-35), slightly to the east, running north from Mexico to Canada. Its present scope is 4,000 miles long, 1,200 feet wide, with an estimated cost of $183 billion of taxpayer funds. It runs through Kansas City.
Integration vs. Independence
How would all of this affect you, your family, and your community? Let us count the ways. One of the most striking features of the proposed Super Highway is the plan to do away with our borders, as evidenced by the joint U.S.-Mexico Customs facility already under construction in Kansas City, Missouri. A U.S. Customs checkpoint in Kansas City? But that’s a thousand miles inside America’s heartland; isn’t the purpose of U.S. Customs to check people and cargo at our borders?
Ah, but the mere asking of that question shows that you’re still operating under the old paradigm that sees the United States as an independent, sovereign nation. However, that paradigm began to change following passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. NAFTA, which was sold to the American public as a simple trade agreement, was actually far more than that, setting in motion a process for the gradual social, economic, and political “integration,” or merger, of the three NAFTA countries – Canada, the United States, and Mexico – into a North American Union.
In 2005, this merger process became more explicit and aggressive when President Bush, Mexico’s President Vicente Fox, and Canada’s Prime Minister Martin launched what they call the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP). Any serious study of the SPP will clearly reveal that its ultimate aim is the dissolution of the United States into a North American Union patterned after the increasingly dictatorial regional government now running the European Union. Henceforth, under this plan, the borders between our nations will be incrementally erased in favor of a joint “perimeter” around all three countries.
One part of this plan calls for streamlining the flow of traffic from Mexico, including a massive increase in containers from China and the Far East offloading at Mexican seaports and then being transported by truck and rail into the United States via the new NAFTA Super Highway. These new cargo streams would cross the border in supposedly secure FAST lanes, checked only electronically until the first Customs stop in Kansas City!
What about all the repeated promises by the White House and Congress to make border security America’s “top priority”? Moving Customs inspections hundreds of miles inland obviously contradicts those promises and incalculably increases the opportunities for smugglers (of drugs, illegal aliens, terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, and other contraband) to enter the country. Our borders are already incredibly porous and undermanned; securing the entire route from the Mexico-Texas border to Kansas City would require thousands more Border Patrol and Customs officers. Would these agents be provided? Could this route be made any more secure than our southern border? Does it make sense to effectively extend the border via this route when we are now doing such a poor job securing our existing border?
Under the Radar
Moreover, we can expect that similar inland joint Customs facilities, like the one in Kansas City, will be included in the other Mexico-to-Canada superhighway corridors. Of course, these corridors will not be secured, and the result – as intended – would be the de facto merger of immigration and Customs enforcement and the obliteration of the current national borders within the planned North American Union. That is precisely what one of the main architects of the SPP plan, Professor Robert Pastor of American University and the Council on Foreign Relations, has repeatedly advocated in his writings, speeches, and congressional testimony. (See sidebar on page 14)
How is it possible that something this radical has gone so far virtually unnoticed when illegal immigration and border security are among the hottest political topics of the day? The politicians and the private contractors who have been pushing this merger scheme intended it that way, knowing full well that adoption and successful implementation of the plan would depend on keeping it under the public radar.
Thanks largely to the investigative work of Joyce Mucci, who heads the Kansas City-based Mid-America Immigration Reform Coalition, and author/economist Jerome Corsi, the NAFTA Super Highway has begun to be a very hot topic. Using Missouri’s Sunshine Law, Mrs. Mucci’s group has pried loose a number of documents that are causing the public and private champions of the NAFTA Super Highway to squirm and stonewall. “They were going along great guns with this whole plan, with all of their high-powered politicians, law firms, PR firms, and corporate contractors – and virtually no opposition, until now,” Mrs. Mucci told The New American. “We’re just volunteers, so we don’t have the money and influence they have, but we are digging out the truth.” And she is hopeful that if enough taxpayers, voters, and property owners learn about all the horrendous ramifications of the Super Highway plan, they will shut it down before it can do the damage envisioned.
Super Highway Robbery
Aside from erasing our borders – which is no small matter in and of itself – the NAFTA Super Highway would profoundly impact Americans in many other ways. The ones who will be most immediately affected are those whose homes, farms, ranches, businesses, and communities lay in the paths of any of the planned routes. Millions of acres are scheduled to be paved over and that means using eminent domain to condemn lots of private property for the Super Highway corridors and rights-of-way.
But every American, ultimately, would be dramatically impacted by this onrushing scheme. How? First of all, in the pocketbook – with increased taxes and tolls. With an aggregate price tag of hundreds of billions of dollars – for projects in the U.S. and Mexico – enormous increases in federal, state, and local taxes are a certainty. To assist in financing the mammoth Super Highway, plans call for converting many current roads, which taxpayers have already paid for, to tollways for all motor vehicles.
If the NAFTA Super Highway goes through as planned, millions of Americans can expect to pay with their jobs as well. Just as the NAFTA trade policies have driven millions of jobs out of the United States, the NAFTA Super Highway will accelerate the job exodus. Although the Super Highway corridors are being sold locally as projects to ease congestion and facilitate U.S. economic competitiveness, their main purpose, very clearly, is to create an arterial network for speeding the delivery of manufactured products into the United States through Canada and Mexico.
Thus, U.S. taxpayers would have to pay for reduced transportation costs for foreign producers. In addition, the “continental” plan calls for U.S. taxpayers to pay hundreds of billions of dollars to extend this “infrastructure development” (highways, railways, bridges, power plants, telecommunications, seaports) through Mexico and Central America.
How will it do that? Under the Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005 – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) (whew!), U.S. funds apportioned to a border state may be used to construct a highway project in Canada or Mexico, if that project directly facilitates cross-border vehicle and cargo movement! Just think – your tax dollars may now be sent to Canada or Mexico to aid the entry of illegal aliens into the United States, like it or not.
Additionally, SAFETEA-LU allows U.S. states to use tolling on a pilot basis to finance Interstate construction and reconstruction, and to establish tolls for existing Interstate highways to fund the new Super Highway corridors. Austin, Texas, is already experiencing fierce struggles over converting its already-paid-for Interstate and state highways to toll roads, but few Texans understand that this new tolling is to be the mechanism for funding the leviathan Trans Texas Corridor. Since Austin has been identified as the pilot city in the nation for testing the new toll policies, you can assume that what passes here is coming your way.
This planned wedding of Mexico’s cheap labor force with brand new infrastructure would make Mexico an irresistible magnet for all manufacturers now remaining in the United States. Even those companies who wanted to keep their operations here would likely be forced by cheaper competitors to join the exodus. The United States, until very recently the manufacturing capital of the world, will continue its downward spiral into increasingly dangerous dependence on foreign manufacturers for almost everything, even as burgeoning inflation makes everything more expensive, devastating much of our middle class.
Scores of Corridors
An additional Super Highway route known as the Interstate 69 corridor (TTC-69) would enter Texas from Mexico as three spur lines at Laredo, McAllen, and Brownsville, which then will join together to head north through Houston, to Memphis, Tennessee, to Port Huron, Michigan, to Toronto, Canada.
Wait, there’s more. To the west of the proposed TTC lies the proposed route of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor, running north from Laredo through West Texas, the Oklahoma Panhandle, to Denver and ultimately Canada. What? Another one? Yes, and plans are very advanced. Its website identifies this corridor as a NAFTA corridor alternative to TTC-35, the one paralleling I-35.
What does the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) have to say about this? Once again, stonewalling rules. In telephone interviews with congenial TxDOT employees, the expected mantra repeated to this writer is how necessary the corridor is to accommodate projected population and trade growth, and how beneficial it would be to the economies of Texas, the U.S., and Mexico. TxDOT’s Public Information officer denied that the TTC was part of any bigger scheme of nationwide corridor building, and claimed that notion was simply misinformation. Yet in a June 30, 2001 article in the Austin American Statesman, the same spokesperson claimed the aforementioned Ports-to-Plains Corridor would be linked to existing Interstate highways in Denver as part of a NAFTA super corridor.
And that’s not all. There’s also CANAMEX, another super corridor like the TTC, which spans the West from Mexico to Canada going through Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. And we learn from the CANAMEX Corridor Coalition website that the number of congressionally designated high priority corridors in the United States has been expanded from 43 to 80! Yes, 80 corridor routes have been designated across the United States in an effort to speed the construction of infrastructure necessary for what the SPP calls “the streamlined movement of legitimate travelers and cargo across our shared borders.”
Research on any High Priority Corridor will lead the reader into a hairball of studies, alliances, pricing programs, transportation acts, administration agencies, reports, committees, partnerships, and on and on, all designed, we believe, to obscure the real agenda. The idea for these 80 super corridors was not conceived to promote trade and better the economic development of all participating communities. When viewed in the aggregate, they can only be seen as a means to so thoroughly restructure and integrate the three countries so as to permanently blur the distinctions, and to make their merger into a regional government seamless and even appealing.