I'm not seeing anything in the news on this, but apparently the Harris County Commissioner's Court has announced plans for five new toll road corriders. There's a public hearing this morning (oops, sorry about that, well, these things always go more smoothly when they're not well-attended anyway, right?). At the time I post this, Commissioner's Court is supposed to be voting on the plan.
CITIZENS TO DEMAND RECONSIDERATION OF VOTE
ON 5 NEW HARRIS COUNTY TOLL ROAD PROJECTS
(Houston) - CTC has learned that:
. Last Friday, June 17, Harris County published the new 5-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) which identifies the next 5-7 priority toll road corridors. The document is available on paper at the county offices downtown, but is not yet available online.
. This Tuesday, Harris County commissioners are expected to vote to approve the plan, without public notice at an unpublicized meeting -- Tues June 21 at 9:00 am.
. Commissioners are then expected to vote an hour later at the 10:00 am Commissioners' Court meeting to authorize $192,295 for traffic and feasibility studies for the 5 new priority toll roads.
This is a remarkably fast process with no public notice. How were neighborhoods supposed to learn about new toll roads? When were citizens supposed to weigh in with their county commissioners? CTC will bring neighborhood leaders from Westbury and other Houston neighborhoods to ask Harris County commissioners for meaningful participation in the toll road planning process.
What: Harris County Capital Improvement Plan meeting Neighborhood leaders to address Commissioners' Court
When: Tuesday, June 21, 2005 at 9:00 am (followed by Court session to approve the plan at 10:00 am)
Where: Harris County Commissioners Court 1001 Preston, 9th floor chamber, Houston, 77002
Under current state law, county toll road authorities (including HCTRA) are NOT required to provide public notice of new plans, hold public meetings in affected neighborhoods, or conduct full environmental reviews for new toll road projects. Harris County's new 5-year CIP identifies $2.16 billion of toll road projects, but highlights five feasible projects as the next ones to be considered:
1. Beltway East Mainlanes.
2. Brazoria County Toll Road from City of Alvin to SH 288 to IH 610, and potentially to US 59.
3. Grand Parkway, Segment E from I-10 to US 290.
4. Hardy Toll Road Extension from IH 610 to downtown.
5. Hempstead Road Managed Lanes from Jones Road to IH 10.
In addition to the above five projects, the plan shows two other projects that could become priorities:
6. Fort Bend Connector from US 90A along Post Oak Blvd to the IH 610 Loop, and
7. Fairmont Parkway/Red Bluff Tollway from SH 146 to Beltway 8.