While concerned residents, business owners, community stakeholders and city officials are currently in the midst of additional community engagement regarding adverse impacts of the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP), the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is inching closer to securing funding for Segment 2 of the proposed I-45 expansion.

On Friday, July 26, 2019 the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s (H-GAC) Transportation Policy Council (TPC) plans to vote on $100 million to fund Segment 2 of the NHHIP. The TPC – a 28-member body representing cities, counties, TxDOT, and METRO – provides policy guidance and overall coordination of the transportation planning activities within the region. At the June 28 TPC monthly meeting, TxDOT requested the policy entity commit $100 million “to demonstrate the region’s desire for advancing” Segment 2, which spans I-45 from I-10 north of downtown Houston to just the northern loop section of I-610. Segment 2 is currently unfunded and the $100 million would be a down payment towards the $1.225 billion necessary for this segment of the project. This commitment could also attract a match from the Texas Transportation Commission to fund the rest of the $1.225 billion for Segment 2.

This funding would signal the region’s support for the project as currently designed, despite significant community concerns that widening the highway poses a serious threat to neighborhood history and heritage, greenspace, flooding, housing, jobs, air quality, and the environment. According to TxDOT’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the project would lead to disproportionate and adverse impacts to low-income and minority communities, displacing 168 single family homes; 1,067 multi-family homes (including 368 low-income units and 60 homeless veterans’ units); and 331 businesses that employ 24,873 people.

LINK Houston is urging TPC members to delay the vote until 2020 to allow TxDOT time to publicly address these negative impacts. We encourage you to contact TPC members to implore them not to rush this decision and to request that TxDOT provide mitigation strategies in writing before a vote is considered.

Additionally, please consider signing up for public comments at the July 26 TPC meeting. The TPC meetings are held at H-GAC main office located at 3555 Timmons Lane, Houston TX 77027. For more information, please contact Lucinda Martinez atLucinda.Martinez@h-gac.com or call 713-993-4516. For a list of the TPC members, please see here and below is information for the members you can contact.

On July 10, Near Northside community members will meet at Avenue CDC’s Education Center on 2804 Fulton Street from 6:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to prepare public comments for the July 26 TPC meeting. All are welcome to attend the meeting.

LINK Houston
July 9, 2019