Air Alliance Houston Statement on Commissioner’s Court Vote on Hardy Downtown Connector

Statement by Jennifer Hadayia, Executive Director of Air Alliance Houston

“Yesterday, Harris County Commissioner’s Court voted unanimously to green light the Hardy Downtown Connector, a roughly 3 mile stretch of new highway construction connecting the Harris County Toll Road to Downtown Houston, cutting through the Near Northside community where I also live.

“Like many environmental justice communities, the Near Northside has been repeatedly asked to bear the burden of air pollution sources like highways. Unfortunately, this new highway will add even more air pollution to the community, while guaranteed to ease traffic. Near Northside deserves investments like parks, recreation facilities, and affordable housing without a 4-lane highway going through the neighborhood.

“The project approval did come with 3 important motions:

  • Direct HCTRA to work with Houston METRO and other relevant partners to evaluate all mobility options, including Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and other dedicated public transit space, and return to Commissioners Court with recommendations as soon as practicable, and provide progress updates every 30 days.
  • Direct HCTRA to work with Harris County Pollution Control, Harris County Public Health, the County Attorney’s Office, and any other relevant departments to develop a comprehensive environmental mitigation strategy for the project, return to Court with their findings and recommendations as soon as practicable, and provide progress updates every 30 days. 
  • Direct HCTRA to work with the County Attorney’s Office and the Housing and Community Development Department to assess and determine options to increase and preserve meaningfully affordable housing in the project area and return with initial recommendations at the April 23, 2024, Commissioner’s Court.

“While the best way to prevent tailpipe emissions is not to build more highways in the first place, these motions have the potential to reduce the environmental impact of the project including the number of new car lanes. Air Alliance Houston will continue to closely monitor the project to ensure these steps are taken.

“We are grateful to Commissioners Ellis, Briones, and Garcia for putting forth these motions. We are grateful to the whole court for their continued commitment to reducing the cumulative impacts of air pollution in our communities.”


Media contact: Riikka Pohjankoski, [email protected], 713 589 7079

About Air Alliance Houston
Air Alliance Houston is a non-profit organization working to reduce the public health impacts of air pollution and advance environmental justice through applied research, education, and advocacy. For more information and resources, please visit

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