December 04, 2004
No toll road in the Heights!

So now anybody who is anybody is coming out against a toll road in the Heights.

"There are no plans to build a toll road there," said County Judge Robert Eckels.

Residents have voiced concern about reports that an abandoned Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad right of way, now owned by the Texas Department of Transportation, would be used for a toll road through the area.

That won't happen, but the county hasn't ruled out building a link along part of the right of way farther to the west between U.S. 290 and Interstate 10, said Art Storey, director of the county's public infrastructure department, which oversees the Harris County Toll Road Authority.

It was never the county's intention to build a toll road on the right of way, he added.


As to the worries about a toll road in the Heights, Mayor Bill White said, "I have not met an elected official who wants it built. I'm confident there will be no plans to build a toll road."

Commissioner El Franco Lee, whose Precinct 1 includes part of the Heights, said such a road won't become a reality "if it requires my vote."

Color me relieved. So what are they proposing?

The authority is studying whether it would be useful to build a toll-road connector from U.S. 290 to I-10, but it would be located west of the Heights in an industrial-commercial area, Storey said.

That connector, he said, might be built along part of the MKT line before linking up with I-10, possibly around Washington Street.

Sounds like they're talking about extending 290 along Hempstead Road, which does indeed go through a mostly non-residential area. I don't know how many people take 290 to I-10 on their way in to town, but I could see that as maybe being useful. Expensive and painful to build for a short stretch of road, too. We'll see.

And, um, what's up with this?

The connector would be built only if the Texas Department of Transportation decided to expand U.S. 290 and turn it into a toll road, Storey said.

Emphasis mine. What other currently-free roads are being targeted as future toll roads? We know that more toll roads are a part of the Regional Transportation Plan, but officials like Art Storey are already backing away from that. So who's pushing for what?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 04, 2004 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack

Welcome to the GOP's Ownership Society(TM), where everything is privatized. All roads are toll roads.

Posted by: Mathwiz on December 6, 2004 3:01 PM

The West Loop north of I-10 is a huge problem and extending 290 directly into I-10 at Washington (through the Hempstead Highway industrial area inside the Loop) certainly makes sense to help clear the nasty 290-610 interchange.

A new toll road from the Grand Parkway (future) near 290 in to the Loop using the current Hempstead Highway would also be wonderful. Hopefully, this may be the (290 toll road mentioned)?

Posted by: Tim Wolter on December 20, 2004 11:02 AM

Oak Forest Homeowner's Association is putting together a team to protest the proposed toll road from Tomball to dump out at 6-10 and T.C. Jester. If you know of anyone that is interested in helping, please email or call 713-688-OFHA. We are across the Loop from the Heights and we need your help.

Posted by: Andrea Warren on February 25, 2005 9:18 AM