On Friday, September 25, 2020 the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP), or the I-45 expansion. The FEIS, a federally required document, outlines potential positive and negative environmental impacts of large infrastructure projects and is the last hurdle TxDOT needs in order to obtain a Record of Decision for the NHHIP to implement the project.
At first glance, the FEIS does not appear to address the concerns outlined by Mayor Sylvester Turner in his May 2020 letter to Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan. In the letter, the Mayor recommends a new vision for the project to reduce the footprint and negative impacts of the proposed project while updating the highway, increasing capacity to move people, and improving safety. The Mayor’s vision is based on a year-long public engagement process and reflects community input from that period.
We at LINK Houston are taking a closer look at the FEIS and requesting
that TxDOT extend the comment period to 120 days. “Thirty days is simply not enough time for our organization, our partners, and, most importantly, directly impacted community members, to adequately analyze such a complex document and provide feedback
” on the 8,189 pages in three Final EIS volumes: the 380 pages in Volume 1, the 5,949 pages in Volume 2, and the 2,240 pages in Volume 3.
What can you do?
- Request that TxDOT extend the public comment period from 30 to 120 days for the FEIS. You can find the email and mailing address here.
- Communicate via email or social media to the Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan, Mayor Sylvester Turner, and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo that you still care about the impacts of the NHHIP and that it is crucial that TxDOT preserve communities while addressing safety and capacity issues for people – not just cars – to reach their destinations.
- Contact us if you wish to join our volunteer group and help analyze parts of the FEIS.
- Stay tuned for upcoming public meetings hosted by Harris County, Huitt-Zollars, and the University of Houston to learn whether or not TxDOT’s FEIS addresses community concerns.
LINK Houston | September 29, 2020