We’ve taken a big step forward: Mayor requests TxDOT to improve the I-45 Project

BIG NEWS: Mayor Turner has formally submitted a letter to TxDOT requesting sweeping changes to the planned I-45 expansion. Please find here the full letter.

We applaud the Mayor’s sustained engagement on this project, especially during these challenging times of the pandemic, and his support for a community-driven vision.

But we wouldn’t be here without everyone’s tireless advocacy. Months of community meetings, calls, letters, sharing of your stories, and rallies are truly paying off.

We encourage you to read the Mayor’s letter in its entirety, but we’ve outlined here, in a nutshell, some of his main asks:

  • The project should stay within the current right-of-way of the freeway to the extent possible.
  • TxDOT should ensure any displaced residents can find housing in their neighborhoods and should provide grants to develop additional affordable housing.
  • The project should result in a huge increase in bus rapid transit infrastructure with two direction transit lanes to help with the implementation of the voter-approved METRONext plan.
  • TxDOT should work with the City and the County to make sure any new infrastructure will be up to the latest flood control standards.
  • Frontage roads should be designed as city streets to improve safety and accommodate all road users, particularly pedestrians and cyclists.
  • TxDOT should work with the City to address any air quality impacts through more monitoring and mitigation.

More than a dozen elected officials representing the affected areas have also endorsed the Mayor’s vision and weighed in with similar requests to TxDOT:

  • letter signed off by Rep. Jackson Lee, Rep. Eastman, Senator Alvarado, Rep. Morales, Comm. Garcia, CM Alcorn, CM Cisneros, CM Davis, CM Gallegos, CM Kamin, CM Plummer, and CM Robinson.
  • letter by Texas Senator – District 6, Carol Alvarado
  • letter by Harris County Commissioner – Precinct 1, Rodney Ellis
  • letter by City of Houston Council Member – District H, Karla Cisneros

While this is a big step toward a better I-45, we must keep in mind that TxDOT needs to agree to the Mayor’s vision. Furthermore, many details of the potential re-design still have to be worked out as we move forward to ensure that a re-design of the project addresses the concerns of communities that have historically been ignored or excluded from these decisions.

However, if we stick together and continue to speak out, we’re on the way to winning this fight. Please stay tuned for updates on how to stay involved and be ready to keep up the pressure!  

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