The Interstate 69 project now working its way across Texas is expected to be an economic shot-in-the-arm for many communities, but 6 Investigates finds the project carries a significant downside, for one community, in particular.
Tiny Driscoll is home to fewer than 800 people as of the last Census, and the number has dwindled, since. It’s primary source of income is tied to Highway 77, which splits the town almost in two.
The highway, itself the backbone of the I-69 route, brings an estimated 16,000 cars and trucks to – or through – Driscoll every day, says the town’s consultant administrator, John Valls.
The tax revenue gleaned from that traffic sustains the town’s budget.
But planners opted out of bringing I-69 along Highway 77 through Driscoll. Instead, they choose to by-pass the town. Valls tells Chief Investigative Reporter Rick Spruill the primary problem is the railway running parallel to 77.
Because upgrading the portion of 77 that runs through Driscoll would require the installation of fly-overs, doing so would require the railroad to relocate.
"It’s just too expensive…to move the railroad," Valls says. "It’s easier to bypass it."
What does that mean to the town? Take a look: