Finding out which company is trying to contract with the government requires just a little digging around.
Haslett: Who are the private developers who hope to build the proposed Blacklands Turnpike from Greenville to Lavon? Let’s investigate. If you google “Blacklands Turnpike,” you get links to news stories – KETR, Greenville Herald Banner, Commerce Journal. No company website. Keep on clicking…more results…more KETR stuff. Google isn’t going to help you. You’re going to just have to memorize their URL. I’ve got it here…it’s cottonbeltcorridor.com. OK, here we are, good-looking-looking website…quote from Ronald Reagan on the front page, OK. Now remember, this is not the website for the company. This is the website the company built to promote the project. So in that sense, it’s a bit like the corporate equivalent of a personals listing. You will be seeing the most flattering pictures. Let’s look under projects…Blacklands Turnpike, good…frequently asked questions, great. Very first question right at the top, quote,
“Who are you? Who’s behind the Cotton Belt Corridor?”
“There are literally scores of individuals, entities and organizations championing the growth and development of the Cotton Belt Corridor. Cotton Belt Partners GP, LLC and Texas Turnpike Corporation have underwritten the creation of this website in an attempt to create one source (among what will rightly be many) that aggregates key issues facing the region and the Blacklands Turnpike specifically.”
OK, that wasn’t the most direct answer but it did at least give two names. Cotton Belt Partners and Texas Turnpike Corporation. They say they’re responsible for this website. Let’s keep looking…OK, there’s a tab that says contact. Please don’t be just one of those forms with no phone number or email address…and…it’s a form with no phone number or email address. Give us your name and your email address and a message and we’ll get back to you. But wait, there is a physical address:
“Cotton Belt Corridor Inquiries
25 Highland Park Village
Dallas, TX 75205”
Cotton Belt Corridor Inquiries doesn’t sound like the name of a business to me, but let’s see about that physical address. Copy, paste, search and…here we go. Public Werks, Incorporated. Their website is publicwerks.com (W-E-R-K-S). These are the same folks who came to Commerce to speak at the Lions Club two weeks ago. Neal Barker gave the presentation. Barker’s down in Austin at a transportation conference today, but he did speak with KETR last week. He spoke a little bit about who Public Werks is.
Barker: Public Werks is a development company here in Dallas, made up of a couple of individuals that have a lot of experience around infrastructure in Texas. Our founder, John Crew, spent several years in municipal finace, financing infrastructure around the nation as an investment banker. And Steve McCullough, who’s another one of our partners, was with the City of Irving for 30 years, I think the last 12 as city manager. So these two gentlemen know quite a bit about infrastructure in Texas, what’s needed - and what’s needed to get it done, complete, on time. If you read the newspapers, you see a lot of stories about, we’re suffering right now, budget-wise, in terms of meeting the needs of our state’s infrastructure. Public Werks is a company that is attempting to get out in front of that curve, find the projects that need to get done, see if we can lend our expertise to help bring them forward several years.
Haslett: We’ll hear a little bit more about Public Werks later this week. In the meantime, you have those two web addresses – cottonbeltcorridor.com and publicwerks.com. For KETR News, I’m Mark Haslett.