For immediate release
RALLY AND PRESS CONFERENCE TO CALL FOR REGIONAL LEADERS TO DELAY VOTE ON $100 MILLION FOR THE I-45 EXPANSION
(HOUSTON, TX) – Community advocates and concerned residents will hold a rally and press conference on Tuesday, July 23, at 10:30 a.m. in front of Bruce Elementary School, to urge Houston-Galveston Area Council’s (H-GAC) Transportation Policy Council (TPC) to delay voting on funding for Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) controversial North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP), or the I-45 expansion.
The TPC is scheduled to vote at their monthly meeting on Friday, July 26, on TxDOT’s request for a $100 million down payment “to demonstrate the region’s desire for advancing” the rebuild of Segment 2 of I-45, which spans from I-10 to North Loop 610. This funding commitment would signal support for the project as it is currently designed, despite significant community concerns about the expansion’s adverse impacts on neighborhood history and heritage, greenspace, flooding, housing, jobs, safety, and air quality. It could also attract a match from the Texas Transportation Commission to fund the remainder of the $1.22 billion necessary for this section of the project.
According to TxDOT’s Draft Environmental Impact Study, the highway expansion “would cause disproportionately high and adverse impacts to minority or low-income populations.” Current plans for widening I-45 would, according to TxDOT, cause thousands of residents to lose their homes and the removal of more than 300 businesses impacting more than 20,000 employees. Additionally, the project impacts historical sites and 26 schools and daycare centers.
Air Alliance Houston, LINK Houston, Greater Houston Coalition for Justice, Make I-45 Better Coalition, as well as concerned residents are calling for H-GAC TPC members not to rush this decision and to delay the vote until TxDOT addresses community concerns surrounding the project. Delaying the vote would allow time for TxDOT to complete a round of community engagement activities and planning in conjunction with the City of Houston; the latest series of community engagement is scheduled to begin in late August. The organizations and residents are asking the TPC to delay the vote until 2020, after TxDOT finalizes the highway project’s Environmental Impact Statement. Thousands of affected Houstonians deserve to have their concerns sufficiently addressed before regional policymakers consider funding this project.
WHAT: Community rally and press conference calling for H-GAC TPC to delay the vote on funding for the I-45 expansion
WHEN: Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019; 10:30 a.m.
WHERE: In front of Bruce Elementary School, 510 Jensen Dr, Houston, TX 77020
WHO: Speakers include:
- Dr. Bakeyah Nelson, Executive Director, Air Alliance Houston
- Oni Blair, Executive Director, LINK HOUSTON
- Johnny N. Mata, Presiding Officer, Greater Houston Coalition for Justice
- Community Members
Speakers will be available for one-on-one interviews following the press conference.