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Houston Regional Group - News
Proposed Grand Parkway - Update
Brandt Mannchen

Like a many-headed dragon or hydra, the proposed Grand Parkway (GP – I call it the “Road to Nowhere”) is being pushed forward by politicians, developers, and road builders. This effort drains local, state, and federal transportation coffers of money needed for other more important projects.

A recent Texas Transportation Department (TxDOT) public meeting revealed that the State of Texas believes that the proposed GP is the highest priority transportation project in our state. Over the next three years TxDOT proposes that $4.8 billion (that is correct – “billion” with a “b”) be spent on planning and construction of the proposed GP. This puts the “Road to Nowhere” in a position of prominence over transportation projects where the people live and congestion is greatest like:

  1. Widening U.S. 290.
  2. Construction of the Hempstead Highway Managed Lanes (toll road).
  3. Improvement to SH 6 and FM 1960.
  4. Improvement of I-45, north and south.
  5. Metro transit projects including expansion of light rail.
  6. A multitude of similar, crucial projects in Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Dallas, the Rio Grande Valley, and all over Texas.

All so that some developers, led by Billy Burge and Ned Holmes, can use public monies to subsidize their and their friends’ sprawl and force the rest of us to cool our heels (more like melt our soles) in congestion and climate-change heated traffic.

Related items include:

  1. The Sierra Club and others met with U.S. EPA twice to discuss the proposed GP and its impacts on the environment and wetlands and how Section 404 of the Clean Water Act can be changed to provide better protection of water quality.
  2. A meeting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service occurred where possible changes to Section 404 were discussed to slow wetland destruction.
  3. Revelation that the proposed GP endangers Addicks Detention Dam and thus flooding of Buffalo Bayou and nearby residents downstream.

What it will take to topple the “Road to Nowhere” is not known. The Sierra Club will keep pushing back at this pointless project.

August 2011

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Last updated:  07/24/2011.   Content 1999-2011 by the Sierra Club.