Houston: Mayor Turner's Statement on TxDOT's I-45 NHHIP Survey

July 21, 2021 -- On June 30, the Texas Transportation Commission directed TxDOT to collect public comments on funding changes to the Unified Transportation Program.

Specific to I-45 NHHIP, the public is being asked whether they support the project as proposed or want to see the funds reallocated to other regions and projects.

"A survey is not public engagement. Further, this survey is framing a false choice," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. "We do not intend to play their game. There is a right way to do it, and if it is done right it can be transformational," Mayor Turner said of TxDOT's planned reconstruction of I-45.

Through years of community engagement, the City of Houston has developed key priorities for a successful project, as articulated by Mayor Turner's letters of May 12, 2020 (.pdf) and December 8, 2020 (.pdf). They include:
  • Study Segment 1 and 2 alternatives to use only the right of way needed, as determined by a recalculation of future demand based on most recent and relevant data.  
  • Study dedicated transit lanes with stations that serve adjacent communities.
  • Design frontage roads, crossings, and other points of neighborhood interface as City streets.  
  • Keep communities whole by allowing residents and businesses to remain in their neighborhood and increase funding for housing construction to maintain the supply of affordable units.

"There is a path forward for this project," said Mayor Turner. "It entails making commitments related to housing, connectivity, flooding, parks and green space, and multimodal forms of transportation. It can even work within TxDOT's existing Record of Decision. But it requires TxDOT to take a different approach. The take it or lose it position being offered by TxDOT is not helpful in getting this project done."

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