Saturday, June 09, 2007

Why did Bush choose Crawford?

I spent the last week in west Texas, doing what I am calling "roadside archaeography" which means, taking pictures of old buildings before they disappear. Really was a great time. Spent most of a week on the road, more than 2500 miles of driving and lots of pictures. Pandora the Dog behaved herself all the way. No accidents, no complaining, --- actually she slept most of the time, and missed seeing the wild turkeys and the big elk. She did, however, get an introduction to cows. She pointed. Yeah, right, cows are prey, Pandora.

I used my Delorme gps receiver, and loved it (though sometimes it WAS distracting-- like when I had it searching for restaurants). It mostly let me concentrate on the road, and on possible picture-taking opportunities. Mostly it was good for directing me to the older parts of towns (usually it took me directly to the courthouse, or the one traffic light in town.) I based in San Angelo for four days, and took long circle routes south, west, and north. Pictures will follow.

But here's what the post is really about:

What about Crawford and Bush? Why did he decide to locate there?

My route home from San Angelo took me through Waco, and Crawford is just a few miles west of Waco, and only eight miles or so off my route. So I drove to see what's been going on there in terms of changes, new houses, buildings and so forth since Bush has been there. (He bought the place in 1999, just before running for President the first time.) Crawford is nothing special. There are some signs touting the Bushes, and a souvenir shop which was closed when I went through. And on the way to Waco (which is also nothing special) I started wondering why Bush had chosen that part of Texas for his "ranch." It's halfway between Houston and Dallas, so the oil connection was the first thing I considered. But , if W wanted to stay close to the oil business, why not live IN Houston or Dallas the way his father did? Or Midland/Odessa? Another consideration might have been scenery or climate. Crawford has neither. It lacks the stark beauty of West Texas, and the climate is hot and humid. Then I remembered the Texas Transportation Corridor (TTC), which I had read about a year or so ago. The TTC is a grandiose scheme to connect a Pacific port in Mexico, most likely Lazaro Cardenas, with a huge mega highway that will run through Mexico, cross the border and continue through Texas to a "port" in Kansas City Missouri, where goods will be unloaded and go through customs. Closed containers, say, from China, unloaded at Lazaro Cardenas by Mexican labor, could be driven on Mexican trucks directly to the geographical center of the country. Imagine the savings -- AND the profits. The corridor would continue on into Canada. It sounds like a pipe dream, but there are already concrete plans and agreements with Mexico to begin the deal. The mega-highway will include, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, "separate lanes for passenger vehicles and large trucks, freight railways, high-speed commuter railways, infrastructure for utilities including water lines, oil and gas pipelines, and transmission lines for electricity, broadband and other telecommunications services." It would be a huge project, and if completed it could change the face of the country. Part of the aim, I assume, is to bypass east coast and west coast US ports -- who would this benefit? And I'm sure there are lots more "beneficiaries" that I cannot imagine now, but who are eagerly hoping to grab some piece of this pie. That would include anyone who had land near the new TTC. What about Bush, then?

Ok, so when I got home late last night, a quick Google search confirmed my suspicion. Crawford, and Bush's "ranch," are immediately adjacent to one of the two proposed routes of the TTC. It the project materializes (and why should he not expect it to, if he has any influence in the Department of Transportation and in Texas politics?) his land will be immensely valuable.

I saw that Cindy Sheehan is selling her Crawford acreage to some L.A. radio personality. She should hold on. What do you think?

/Here are links to the sites that have the full story. Just cut and paste. The outline of the scheme -- Trans Texas Corridor. Includes links to other, coordinating sites.,_Michoac%C3%A1n Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas,-97.543611&spn=0.01,0.01&q=31.5825,-97.543611-- Bush's ranch location. -- maps -- click on the link to Map 3 Hilllsboro Waco

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