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Old 02-24-2007, 12:50 PM
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Default North America Super Highway

This should go on the STEALTH thread, but it got mangled, so I started a new one. This a long article, but interesting.



Fears of Canada-Mexico superhighway driving U.S. critics loco Don Butler, CanWest News Service; Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, February 24, 2007 Article tools

OTTAWA - Are North American governments secretly conspiring to build a "NAFTA superhighway," four football fields wide, from Mexico to Canada, to bypass regulatory controls and whisk goods swiftly to market?

If you believe some right-wing websites in the United States, it's all but a fait accompli. They insist a gargantuan project is in the works that will carve a 365-metre-wide swath through the continent's heart, with 10 traffic lanes, rail lines for freight and passenger trains, fibre-optic cable lines and pipelines carrying oil, gas and water.

Conservative commentators Pat Buchanan and Phyllis Schlafly, and websites such as WorldNetDaily, link the supposed superhighway to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), a series of agreements being negotiated among the United States, Canada and Mexico. They fear the SPP will lead to a North American union similar to the European Union, with a resulting loss of American sovereignty.

If you've never heard of the NAFTA superhighway, it may be because no such plan actually exists. The whole idea, one American official recently told a congressional committee, is an "urban myth."

But some remain unconvinced, in part because the largely secretive SPP process has created an information void that provides oxygen for conspiracy theorists.

Most SPP work is being done by 19 working groups that meet behind closed doors. The project only surfaces publicly when politicians from the three countries gather for periodic updates, like Friday's SPP ministerial meetings in Ottawa.

So far, anxiety about the purported NAFTA superhighway has been confined to the United States. Activists in Canada, by and large, don't quite know what to make of it, though the Sierra Club has expressed concern that NAFTA super-corridors could be used to pipe Canadian water to American markets.

Even the Council of Canadians, never shy about expressing alarm about anything that furthers "deep integration" with the U.S., declined comment. "We're trying to figure out what's going on, like everyone else," says spokesman Stewart Trew.

In the U.S, though, the furor over the NAFTA superhighway is so intense that the American government's Security and Prosperity Partnership website has posted a denial under the heading, "SPP Myths vs. Facts."

Those who swear that a NAFTA superhighway is in the works cite two main pieces of evidence.

One is the Trans-Texas Corridor, a proposed statewide network of transportation routes, each of which could include six automobile lanes, four truck lanes, freight and commuter rail lines, and infrastructure for utilities. It would take up to 50 years to fully build.

The other is the existence of North America's SuperCorridor Coalition (NASCO), a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop "the world's first international, integrated and secure multi-modal transportation system."

NASCO, whose members include companies and governments in the United States, Mexico and Canada - including the city of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba - promotes and lobbies for what's known as the "international mid-continent trade and transportation corridor." It says the corridor connects 71 million people and supports $1 trillion US in total commerce between the three nations.
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