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I-45 Rebuild (North Houston Highway Improvement Project)


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  • 3 weeks later...

Does anyone know why it is necessary to widen I-45 North AND build the Hardy Toll Road extension? I assume planners and engineers took the completion (or non-completion) of either project into consideration in their traffic forecasts, right?

 

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59 minutes ago, zaphod said:

Does anyone know why it is necessary to widen I-45 North AND build the Hardy Toll Road extension? I assume planners and engineers took the completion (or non-completion) of either project into consideration in their traffic forecasts, right?

 

I think the Hardy extension is on indefinite hold. 

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Blah, so why did they start on the Elysian viaduct then?

From what I can tell, the proposed Hardy extension would only lead to the removal of maybe 4 or 5 houses and a couple of likely to be disused industrial structures.

Given the concerns about the I-45 expansion the Hardy extension would have lesser impacts but still achieve similar goals.

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1 hour ago, zaphod said:

Blah, so why did they start on the Elysian viaduct then?

From what I can tell, the proposed Hardy extension would only lead to the removal of maybe 4 or 5 houses and a couple of likely to be disused industrial structures.

Given the concerns about the I-45 expansion the Hardy extension would have lesser impacts but still achieve similar goals.

Even if its completed as designed, the Hardy Toll Road extension will not achieve the same goals as the 1-45 expansion. Extending it will take pressure off the loop and the other freeways going into downtown, because traffic will be able to take the tollway all the way in rather than being forced onto the loop and then either 1-45 or 1-69 to get downtown. So, for commuters who already make use of the tollway, it will be a boon, and it will take pressure off the other inner loop freeways, but it will do nothing to alleviate the traffic nightmare and dilapidated mess that is 1-45 north of the loop, it does nothing about the Pierce Elevated, and it won't bury the freeway on the southside of downtown.

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3 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

According to HCTRA's website, construction of the Hardy extension lanes is scheduled to start in September of this year.

Chronicle transportation reporter said it was shelved as of last September 

 

I'll reach out to him and ask if he knows if that has changed. 

 

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On 5/15/2021 at 7:19 PM, wilcal said:

I think the Hardy extension is on indefinite hold. 

Yep, HCTRA is run by Harris County, which is now run by Lina Hidalgo. The Hardy Extension is likely permanently dead.

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, wilcal said:

Chronicle transportation reporter said it was shelved as of last September 

 

I'll reach out to him and ask if he knows if that has changed. 

 

"Shelved it" rather overstates the situation, I think.  Last year (around May, I think) "HCTRA received authorization from Commissioners Court to suspend development of Phase II to allow for reevaluation of any proposed project within the corridor."

In December 2020, Commissioner's Court authorized HCTRA to seek statements of interest and qualifications . . . [regarding] planning and conceptual design for the toll road extension.

In January 2021, Commissioner's Court authorized agreements with Union Pacific in connection with the development of the downtown connector.

Edited by Houston19514
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3 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

"Shelved it" rather overstates the situation, I think.  Last year (around May, I think) "HCTRA received authorization from Commissioners Court to suspend development of Phase II to allow for reevaluation of any proposed project within the corridor."

In December 2020, Commissioner's Court authorized HCTRA to seek statements of interest and qualifications . . . [regarding] planning and conceptual design for the toll road extension.

In January 2021, Commissioner's Court authorized agreements with Union Pacific in connection with the development of the downtown connector.

My only comment is that some of the supporting work for the overpasses for crosstreets over the railroad tracks have already been completed. It is possibly that they are completing the work that actually benefits the locals and not the extension itself, but of course I don't know that for sure. 

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16 minutes ago, wilcal said:

My only comment is that some of the supporting work for the overpasses for crosstreets over the railroad tracks have already been completed. It is possibly that they are completing the work that actually benefits the locals and not the extension itself, but of course I don't know that for sure. 

No, the items I mentioned were for Phase II of the project, which is the construction of the tollway lanes.  The sorts of items you are referencing were Phase I projects.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

It seems like TxDOT has been sniffing around and trying acquire land for the portions of this project that require more land. From a legal POV, how fun is it to watch local, state, and feds all in a legal fight (answer: so much fun because it isn't the most frequent thing): 

https://twitter.com/samjmintz/status/1399813701176287236?s=20

Page 1.jpg

Page 2.jpg

Edited by X.R.
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the letter says they want to work together to see if they can continue to pursue contracts. the letter from March 4 is very clear that any contract solicitations should be paused.

this is the most nicely worded way of saying 'hey, we see what you're doing, so stop'.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Them Fed boys and girls decided they weren't playing around. Told em to stop everything in a "did you not hear us the first time?" type-a-way: 

 

 

Edited by X.R.
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wow. that's a bit more strongly worded.

I mean, it TXDOT just assuming that they can muscle their way through this? be very slow to deliver the requested data to the federal authorities, and all the while acquiring the land, then oops, well, I guess we're too far along now to stop, may as well finish the project.

I'm suddenly reminded of the horrible state of Louisiana's interstate highways when the federal government withheld funding because they didn't change the drinking age. is that what we're headed towards if TXDOT doesn't comply?

jLwyYZV.jpg

 

Edited by samagon
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1 hour ago, samagon said:

wow. that's a bit more strongly worded.

I mean, it TXDOT just assuming that they can muscle their way through this? be very slow to deliver the requested data to the federal authorities, and all the while acquiring the land, then oops, well, I guess we're too far along now to stop, may as well finish the project.

I'm suddenly reminded of the horrible state of Louisiana's interstate highways when the federal government withheld funding because they didn't change the drinking age. is that what we're headed towards if TXDOT doesn't comply?

jLwyYZV.jpg

 

Ooohhhh, the FHWA "requests that the pause apply to right-of-way acquisition..."   That is some STRONG language.   🥱

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20 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

Ooohhhh, the FHWA "requests that the pause apply to right-of-way acquisition..."   That is some STRONG language.   🥱

more strongly worded than the previous letters, yes. 🤷‍♂️

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1 hour ago, Avossos said:

This is silly... just let them get started so it can be over sooner.

Better yet, just cancel the damn thing, and get it over even sooner than that.

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I can't imagine that this project gets cancelled all together, but if it does (or is significantly scaled back) what happens to the land and properties that TxDOT has already purchased? I believe they already paid a hefty sum (~$90MM) to the Housing Authority for Clayton Homes. If that property (and others like it) are no longer required for this project, is there a clawback mechanism for TxDOT to recoup those funds? 

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specifically with Clayton Homes, as I remember reading here, the city was not at all displeased about Clayton Homes going away, so that land might end up being a detention pond/park area regardless of this projects future.

I suspect it they can't build the realignment, with other land they've already acquired, they'd probably try to get it back out there as taxable properties.

as far as the overall project, I personally hope they are sent back to the drawing board to develop the 610 east loop as i45 bypass (maybe even take over the BW8 east for this task), and then i45 inside the loop becomes a business route, and that's an end to the inner loop i45 renovation.

at that point, I'd even say they should go as far as to introduce a congestion charge to any commercial traffic that chooses to use the business route of i45 as a through route (aka, an 18 wheeler going from i45 in Galveston to Conroe, if they take i45 through town they are charged a congestion fee, if they take 610 east, there's no charge).

reality is though, that there's been a lot of investment on this project already, I doubt it goes away completely, but I guess it depends, if some actuarial table says it's going to cost more to make the current design fit the federal standards than it would to completely scrap the project and move on to somewhere else, then they might just scrap it and try a different design entirely.

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Now we'll need to await the response of the TxDOT commission. Will they leave the $5 billion funding commitment in place, or will the project funding be reallocated elsewhere?

I'm not in a position to know anything, but there may be some clues. At the June 10 NCTCOG meeting (NCTCOG is the Dallas-Fort Worth equivalent of H-GAC), NCTCOG director Morris stated

"We have a major push working with TxDOT headquarters to advance projects in Dallas-Fort Worth as other big projects in the rest of the state do not move forward. So, [name] and Mo and Carl and John and our office are working hard to get really big projects slotted for any opportunities that either Washington or Austin wish to advance (transportation projects)."

(Mo is the TxDOT Dallas director, Carl is the TxDOT Fort Worth director)

NHHIP is the only project I'm aware of that is not moving forward. Morris is certainly in a position to have "inside information", and of course DFW would love to harvest money from Houston. Also, the TxDOT commission has an executive session scheduled before its regular monthly meeting on June 30. I've never seen an executive session scheduled before the main meeting, which suggests to me that something may be going on. There could be a response already developed, and the meeting could be to coordinate all the members, including Commissioner Ryan from Houston. However, any new decisions in an executive session would probably not be made public immediately at the normal meeting.

https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/administration/commission/2021-meetings.html

 

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19 minutes ago, MaxConcrete said:

Now we'll need to await the response of the TxDOT commission. Will they leave the $5 billion funding commitment in place, or will the project funding be reallocated elsewhere?

I'm not in a position to know anything, but there may be some clues. At the June 10 NCTCOG meeting (NCTCOG is the Dallas-Fort Worth equivalent of H-GAC), NCTCOG director Morris stated

"We have a major push working with TxDOT headquarters to advance projects in Dallas-Fort Worth as other big projects in the rest of the state do not move forward. So, [name] and Mo and Carl and John and our office are working hard to get really big projects slotted for any opportunities that either Washington or Austin wish to advance (transportation projects)."

(Mo is the TxDOT Dallas director, Carl is the TxDOT Fort Worth director)

NHHIP is the only project I'm aware of that is not moving forward. Morris is certainly in a position to have "inside information", and of course DFW would love to harvest money from Houston. Also, the TxDOT commission has an executive session scheduled before its regular monthly meeting on June 30. I've never seen an executive session scheduled before the main meeting, which suggests to me that something may be going on. There could be a response already developed, and the meeting could be to coordinate all the members, including Commissioner Ryan from Houston. However, any new decisions in an executive session would probably not be made public immediately at the normal meeting.

https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/administration/commission/2021-meetings.html

 

Let TxDOT go up north and ruin dallas. I'm totally ok with that. 

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6 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

Let TxDOT go up north and ruin dallas. I'm totally ok with that. 

In case you weren't aware, DFW builds more freeways and tollways than Houston and is better off economically than Houston. DFW has more job creation and more consistent job creation. In fact, they're almost always the #1 metro in the U.S. for job creation. Houston only ranks highly when oil prices are high. DFW has more population increase and attracts more domestic migrants (which is a sign that a city is attractive). DFW also has a more highly diversified economy including a much larger tech sector than Houston. DFW is often a viable candidate for national-level corporate expansions such as Amazon and Uber, but Houston is never a viable candidate.

More funding for DFW will mean more success for DFW.

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39 minutes ago, MaxConcrete said:

In case you weren't aware, DFW builds more freeways and tollways than Houston 


uh, except Dallas literally managed to kill their most recent downtown highway boondoggle and that failure is the exact reason TxDOT came here to push for the i45 reno.  

https://www.dmagazine.com/frontburner/2017/08/its-official-the-trinity-toll-road-is-dead/ 
 

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35 minutes ago, MaxConcrete said:

In case you weren't aware, DFW builds more freeways and tollways than Houston and is better off economically than Houston. DFW has more job creation and more consistent job creation. In fact, they're almost always the #1 metro in the U.S. for job creation. Houston only ranks highly when oil prices are high. DFW has more population increase and attracts more domestic migrants (which is a sign that a city is attractive). DFW also has a more highly diversified economy including a much larger tech sector than Houston. DFW is often a viable candidate for national-level corporate expansions such as Amazon and Uber, but Houston is never a viable candidate.

More funding for DFW will mean more success for DFW.

I lived in dallas for a while and still go up there for work sometimes. Most of those jobs are where companies can build full on campuses, so like plano/arlington/richardson/etc so yeah, they need the highways. Downtown Dallas is ghost town during the day with nothing going on, which isn't helped by the fact that jerry world and the rangers are DWI-fest 30 mins west of the city and FC Dallas is in the burbs to the North and is consistently one of the underfunded teams in the league (because no one goes to those games in part because its in the mdidle of nowhere). I say all that because normally those types of games would help businesses flourish in a downtown and they aren't in downtown, so downtown and uptown stay empty during the weekdays. Again, the highways help allow for these type of spread out development. Shoutout to the Mavs and Stars for cultivating a hell of an experience at American Airlines. Speaking of downtown, didn't they actually kill a TXDot highway project AND build Hyde Park (which is awesome) and is basically the model for cap parks in America?

Everyone loves Bishop Arts, the gentrifying Oak Cliff, the M Streets, Knox-henderson, white rock lake, Highland Park, etc but its because those places are walkable and are actual communities. And my friends in the actual city are never like "we love Las Colinas, Plano, Arlington, and Garland!" (the places where these corporate campuses are) because they are your normal car-dependent burbs. I really enjoy Dallas, but Houston and Dallas are just different. I'm happy they are getting more money to develop those highways because they need it, they move a ton of people. 

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10 minutes ago, crock said:


uh, except Dallas literally managed to kill their most recent downtown highway boondoggle and that failure is the exact reason TxDOT came here to push for the i45 reno.  

https://www.dmagazine.com/frontburner/2017/08/its-official-the-trinity-toll-road-is-dead/ 
 

What a bunch of nonsense.  Dallas's cancellation of the ill-conceived Trinity tollway has nothing whatsoever to do with TxDOT's plans for the I45 reno.  The Trinity Tollway was not a TxDOT project.  (They have plenty of their own work going on in Dallas, including the rebuilding and expansion of I-35 all the way through town.)

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3 hours ago, burt said:

I can't imagine that this project gets cancelled all together, but if it does (or is significantly scaled back) what happens to the land and properties that TxDOT has already purchased? I believe they already paid a hefty sum (~$90MM) to the Housing Authority for Clayton Homes. If that property (and others like it) are no longer required for this project, is there a clawback mechanism for TxDOT to recoup those funds? 

With regard to the Clayton Homes site, the county's objections to the NHHIP plan are almost 100% with regard to Segments 1 and 2.  Segment 3 (the downtown part of NHHIP) is likely to be built as planned.  In any event, there it's unlikely there are any clawback provisions. TxDOT would just have surplus property it could sell.

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1 hour ago, Houston19514 said:

With regard to the Clayton Homes site, the county's objections to the NHHIP plan are almost 100% with regard to Segments 1 and 2.  Segment 3 (the downtown part of NHHIP) is likely to be built as planned.  In any event, there it's unlikely there are any clawback provisions. TxDOT would just have surplus property it could sell.

you keep saying that. where are you seeing info that makes you confident that any segment of this will be built?

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1 hour ago, samagon said:

you keep saying that. where are you seeing info that makes you confident that any segment of this will be built?

For starters, even the county’s lawsuit acknowledges that the existing I-45 desperately needs improvement and makes very little  complaints about Segment 3;  the bulk of their issues are with Segments 1 and 2

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4 hours ago, samagon said:

specifically with Clayton Homes, as I remember reading here, the city was not at all displeased about Clayton Homes going away, so that land might end up being a detention pond/park area regardless of this projects future.

I suspect it they can't build the realignment, with other land they've already acquired, they'd probably try to get it back out there as taxable properties.

 

I don't disagree that the City was happy to take the $90MM and run, however I can't imagine TxDOT agreeing to pay $90MM for detention. Maybe so, but that just seems expensive for a detention pond/park. I would have to think there was some language in the purchase agreement addressing a scenario where the project doesn't come to fruition. Guess we will find out who has the better set of lawyers. After all, they are the only one's who are going to come out ahead in all of this anyway. 

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1 hour ago, Houston19514 said:

For starters, even the county’s lawsuit acknowledges that the existing I-45 desperately needs improvement and makes very little  complaints about Segment 3;  the bulk of their issues are with Segments 1 and 2

https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/houston-interstate.pdf

don't see what you see.

Quote

ORIGINAL COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

1. Harris County, Texas (“Harris County” or “the County”) brings this civil action against the Texas Department of Transportation (“TxDOT”), and James M. Bass, in his official capacity as its Executive Director, for declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701–706, and the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et. seq. and its implementing regulations, and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, 49 U.S.C. § 303 (“§ 4(f)”).

2. This litigation arises from the Defendants’ decisions to expand and widen Interstate Highway 45 (“I-45”), from south of downtown Houston north to Beltway 8, to remove the Pierce Elevated section of I-45, and to re-route I-45 to the east and north of downtown, together named the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (“NHHIP” or “the Project”).

3. Harris County files this lawsuit to challenge the actions of TxDOT—a state agency—and its officials in adopting a design and plan that ignored serious harms, disregarded the concerns of the communities impacted by the Project, and brushed off the numerous comments they received as part of their flawed EIS process. The Defendants had already made their mind Case 4:21-cv-00805 Document 1 Filed on 03/11/21 in TXSD Page 1 of 32 2 about what they were going to do and then simply did it, running roughshod over the procedural requirements of NEPA, the substantive law of Section 4(f) and the APA’s constraint on arbitrary and capricious decision-making.

4. Harris County files this lawsuit because the NHHIP must be more carefully considered and designed to meet the diverse needs of the region’s future, reflect the changing circumstances of altered work patterns and new transit initiatives, learn from the regions’ past experience that wider freeways cause more traffic, not less, and without unnecessarily displacing hundreds of families and businesses.

they outline the entire project "Interstate Highway 45 (“I-45”), from south of downtown Houston north to Beltway 8, to remove the Pierce Elevated section of I-45, and to re-route I-45 to the east and north of downtown, together named the North Houston Highway Improvement Project"

further, 3 entire pages are specifically referencing segment 3.

regarding 'desperately needs improvement' I see this:

Quote

Harris County recognizes that transportation projects are essential to the region

here's the 'relief requested'...

Quote

VII. RELIEF REQUESTED Harris County respectfully requests that this Court enter a judgment in its favor, and:

1. Declare that Defendants violated the APA and NEPA by failing to take a hard look at impacts resulting from the NHHIP, failing to evaluate all alternatives, failing to adequately respond to comments, and failing to make the full disclosures required by law; Case 4:21-cv-00805 Document 1 Filed on 03/11/21 in TXSD Page 30 of 32 31

2. Declare that Defendants failed to publish a full DEIS that complied with NEPA, that this failure resulted in the inadequate disclosure of all impacts, and impeded the ability of the public to participate in the NEPA process as required by law;

3. Declare that Defendants violated the APA and § 4(f) by refusing to identify the White Oak Bayou Greenway as a recreation or park land, and thereby failing to consider reasonable and prudent alternatives to its actual and constructive use for the NHHIP;

4. Harris County seeks a permanent injunction to vacate the ROD approving of the NHHIP, and remand it back to TxDOT for full and complete compliance with NEPA, its implementing regulations, and § 4(f); and 5. Grant Harris County such other relief as may be necessary and appropriate or as the Court deems just and proper.

particularly 4.

I do think the entire project will happen (segments 1, 2 and 3). the thing is though, TXDOT thought they could ram this project through without taking the consideration of the city and county into account (and the need to adopt more than just car transit options), I think they are going to be stuck now being forced to accept city and county changes as well they will have to accept even more changes 'requested' (required) from the federal level. just my guess though.

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41 minutes ago, samagon said:

https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/houston-interstate.pdf

don't see what you see.

 

regarding 'desperately needs improvement' I see this:

 

No. 7.  Page 2 (Easily found by searching for the word "desperately"):

7. By filing this lawsuit, Harris County does not seek to cancel or unduly delay the NHHIP because the County readily recognizes that the existing I-45 desperately needs improving. But the NHHIP must be undertaken in accordance with applicable law, including NEPA, § 4(f) and the APA.

 

 

The thing is,  TxDOT has always acknowledged that the plan is not final final and is subject to further reivision as they work through the process, especially with regard to Segments 1 and 2.  As I said when this lawsuit was filed and letter sent from FHWA, look for a press conference (attended by Sheila Jackson Lee, of course), announcing TXDoT's agreement to do things that would have been done regardless and things that would have been agreed to in regular course.  Local and federal politicians "win".  The only losers are taxpayers because a whole bunch of money will have been wasted to achieve nothing and time will have been wasted on accomplishing, in the county's own words, "desperately needed improvements."

I'm not necessarily a huge Sylvester Turner fan, but I much prefer has approach to this matter.

Edited by Houston19514
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thanks, I obviously missed that.

I think the thing is that the city and county want more assurances that the plan is not final final.

and yeah, Sheila Jackson Lee. nothing nice I can say about her, so I'll not say anything at all except that I feel that more could be accomplished if someone else had her seat.

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7 hours ago, MaxConcrete said:

In case you weren't aware, DFW builds more freeways and tollways than Houston and is better off economically than Houston. DFW has more job creation and more consistent job creation. In fact, they're almost always the #1 metro in the U.S. for job creation. Houston only ranks highly when oil prices are high. DFW has more population increase and attracts more domestic migrants (which is a sign that a city is attractive). DFW also has a more highly diversified economy including a much larger tech sector than Houston. DFW is often a viable candidate for national-level corporate expansions such as Amazon and Uber, but Houston is never a viable candidate.

More funding for DFW will mean more success for DFW.

How is expanded freeways considered a success? We need commuter rail in Houston. Screw another freeway expansion. 

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15 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

How is expanded freeways considered a success? We need commuter rail in Houston. Screw another freeway expansion. 

It's supposed to be freeway "improvement". I'm all for trenching 59, and wrapping 45 around to get rid of the Pierce Elevated. I'm all for "improving" connections between the freeways, and completely repaving them to get rid of pot holes and flood spots. This is infrastructure and freeways aren't going anywhere. As much as I would love for billions to pour into a rail system, it's not happening. We can't even get more light rail.

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On 6/24/2021 at 10:13 AM, MaxConcrete said:

Now we'll need to await the response of the TxDOT commission. Will they leave the $5 billion funding commitment in place, or will the project funding be reallocated elsewhere?

At today's commission meeting, the commission decided to receive public comment on the removal of funding for NHHIP. Comment will be received starting July 9, and the plan is to have a decision at the August meeting (at the end of August).

From the tone of comments from Chairman Bugg and Houston Commissioner Ryan, it sounds like they are ready to defund NHHIP. Public comment appears to be a necessary step before they can officially remove the projects (and their funding) from the UTP.

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On 6/25/2021 at 9:28 AM, Montrose1100 said:

It's supposed to be freeway "improvement". I'm all for trenching 59, and wrapping 45 around to get rid of the Pierce Elevated. I'm all for "improving" connections between the freeways, and completely repaving them to get rid of pot holes and flood spots. This is infrastructure and freeways aren't going anywhere. As much as I would love for billions to pour into a rail system, it's not happening. We can't even get more light rail.

I suppose 'improvement' is all relative, and actually the reason for this whole process being stopped.

here's an article on chron:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/Massive-I-45-Houston-project-heads-back-to-public-16285062.php?utm_campaign=CMS Sharing Tools (Premium)&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral#photo-21160679

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12 hours ago, samagon said:

All this hoopla is just getting embarrassing at this point. I say enough. The courts need to throw out the challenges and let the project move forward. Its been over 10 years that this project's been in development. Some of these officials crying about it now weren't in power for most of it, but some (like that old bird, Sheila Jackson Lee) were, and now they are coming in at the literal ninth hour and wasting tax payer money, and for what? To look important? While our current infrastructure continues to decay, the price of building materials continues to rise, and the project has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars and been through multiple public input sessions. Enough is enough.

This project is not significantly changing at this point. Everybody knows that. This is nothing more than a hail mary pass to keep this project going while this legal circus makes its way through court. You want to know why America doesn't have a high speed rail network to rival China or even Europe? Want to know why our infrastructure is decaying and nothing seems to get done anymore? This is why. Any project that moves forward gets strangled in red tape and BS for a decade or longer, while costs overrun to the tune of hundreds of millions. And at the end of the day, the only people who win are the lawyers and whoever gets the lucrative kick backs for the construction jobs. People say we need and infrastructure investment plan, but such an act of congress, should it ever even pass, would be pointless. Because any project, no matter its perceived or real benefits, would be litigated to death. None of the people complaining about this project are civil engineers. None of them. Not one of them know any of the technical stuff about traffic patterns, nor how bad the infrastructure really is. But when their special interests (or their own personal interest in Lee's case) say jump, they jump.

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Posted (edited)

red tape and BS isn't a US only phenomenon. 

Sheila Jackson Lee is absolutely a US phenomenon and she isn't the only person who is there that is bad for our country. the fact that she (and others like her) can hold office for so long should be all the reason that is needed for term limits to be introduced to all elected officials.

what really rankles about her is that I reached out to her office years ago about this i45 project and I know many others did too. 

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1 minute ago, samagon said:

red tape and BS isn't a US only phenomenon. 

True, but we very much seem to be suffering more from it than any country I can think of  Compare the costs to build a mile of subway in this country with the cost anywhere else. 

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1 minute ago, Houston19514 said:

True, but we very much seem to be suffering more from it than any country I can think of  Compare the costs to build a mile of subway in this country with the cost anywhere else. 

absolutely, I thought I posted this (timely) news article in the HSR thread, but I guess I didn't.

https://www.vox.com/22534714/rail-roads-infrastructure-costs-america

I think the first graphic is so telling. we are number 6 on the list for spending on rail, but each country that spends more than us is digging through rock, and we're just laying surface tracks.

it goes on to discuss the increase in spending on roads from 1990 to current. 

as they outline in the article, it's a complex problem, and there's not just one reason for the increase. so while obviously special interest groups (and camera seeky people like SJL) seem to show up at the 11th hour, it's not all down to that. 

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On 6/24/2021 at 10:46 AM, MaxConcrete said:

In case you weren't aware, DFW builds more freeways and tollways than Houston and is better off economically than Houston. DFW has more job creation and more consistent job creation. In fact, they're almost always the #1 metro in the U.S. for job creation. Houston only ranks highly when oil prices are high. DFW has more population increase and attracts more domestic migrants (which is a sign that a city is attractive). DFW also has a more highly diversified economy including a much larger tech sector than Houston. DFW is often a viable candidate for national-level corporate expansions such as Amazon and Uber, but Houston is never a viable candidate.

More funding for DFW will mean more success for DFW.

The implication being more freeways and tollways=more HQ relocations?  Just a tad bit simplistic, don't you think?

 

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9 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

The implication being more freeways and tollways=more HQ relocations?  Just a tad bit simplistic, don't you think?

 

It's already been proven that highways have zero to do with smart growth. Anywhere there is a road, there is the possibility of job growth. But that doesn't make it smart sustainable growth for a city. He's forgetting the possible lost income from businesses not being able to attract the standard pedestrian or cyclist, only the motorist.

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Do I understand correctly that the city and county's interest in stopping this is because it forces some racial minority people out of their homes, and the federal government's interest in stopping this is because of environmentalist concerns, and the two interests just happen to dovetail? But that on a deeper level, the real motivation is so that local politicians can say "We blew up something that benefits suburbanites more than inner city people" and so that federal politicians can say "We blew up something in Texas"?

 

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I'm not a suburbanite (I've lived inside the loop for the last >20 years), but I want this project to happen.  Why?  IH-45 is one of the most dangerous highways in the country, and there are so many problems with its current implementation that this project addresses.

Most of TxDOT's plans for this project are to increase safety.  People keep naively going on and on about induced demand, but that isn't even relevant here, because in many sections, this project doesn't even add more regular lanes.  It does add bus (+HOV/HOT) lanes, but improved mass transit is something we should be celebrating, not opposing. 

The number of people being forced to move is exaggerated by most opponents of this project as well.  Regardless of whether this happens, many of the units at Clayton Homes have already been torn down (so the residents already had to move) thanks to damage from Harvey, and it seems the rest will get relocated to a less flood-prone development regardless of whether this goes forward.  And at Kelly Village, the housing authority has voluntarily wanted to tear down more than is necessary to make more greenspace for its residents -- again, it seems the housing authority would rather have more residents elsewhere (as has been determined from the failure of low-income tower blocks, it does not make sense to have a large number of low-income residents in one small area, but it's better to spread them around to give them more opportunities).  And at the Lofts at the Ballpark, this move has been expected anyway, and my impression is that the owners are welcoming this buyout.  Many of the businesses cited by articles in opposition to this as being in the way of the project have either already closed or will soon close anyway (such as Fry's Electronics and Kim Son), so the buyouts are likely to be appreciated as well.  And the renters of business properties in the way have known about this project for many years, probably even before they signed their leases for the property, so many have always been prepared for this day.

If this project goes forward, it will mean safer travel, thanks to fewer (and less tight) curves, broader shoulders, and less dangerous merging.  Road capacity will increase as a side effect, allowing more people to get to their destination with the same traffic speeds as today.

It will also mean fewer problems from trucks striking low bridges.  The West Dallas and Houston Street bridges are infamous for being struck regularly, and this project addresses those.

It will also mean fewer problems with flooding, because this project calls for massive retention/detention ponds and pumping systems, to ensure that both property around the project and the roadway itself can avoid flooding as often.  And by having the segment east of downtown below-grade, in Biblical floods (think Allison, Harvey), they could be setup to fill with water to help protect the property around them, because nobody should be traveling on the roads during events like those.

Yes, it sucks for the people who will be forced to move, especially for those few who own homes that they've lived in for decades.  Few people want that.  But the plans call for very generous relocation assistance (even going as far as rent and mortgage subsidies, not just moving expenses), and we can't let a few people stand in the way of progress.  There are some negatives to this project, and of course the massive cost, but it seems the positives greatly outweigh the negatives.

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