September 30, 2005
Grand Parkway project suspended

Good news for the citizens of Spring (and I see that Anne is suitably happy): According to Robin Holzer, the Harris County Toll Road Authority has (at least for now) suspended its efforts to partner with TxDOT on the proposed expansion of the Grand Parkway.

In a letter to Commissioners Court dated Sept 21, 2005:

Art Storey, PE wrote:
"Dear Court Members:

As I have reported before, TxDOT has suggested that Harris County join them in a general agreement for sharing toll road revenues when HCTRA constructs a toll road in TxDOT right-of-way or on an alignment within the TxDOT highway system. With the support of county staff and our toll road legal and investment consultants, I have been working on such an agreement for several months.

The negotiations have been difficult, and more time and effort is needed before we can expect to reach agreement. Accordingly, I have instructed HCTRA to stop work on so- called "future" projects until either such an agreement is in hand or the requirement for one is eliminated. Projects affected include the Grand Parkway and the U.S. 290 corridor (Hempstead Road). My letter to HCTRA is attached and is part of this report."

In the attached letter to Mike Strech, Director of HCTRA, dated Sept 19, 2005:

Art Storey, PE wrote:

I have been thinking about last week's excellent briefing by the engineering section and our ongoing difficult negotiations with TxDOT concerning revenue sharing on future projects. While we sort out our TxDOT situation, I want us to reassess our priorities for engineering, both in-house and with our consultants.

1. Please instruct our staff and consultants to suspend immediately all work on the proposed Grand Parkway. That means surveying, right-of-way definition, schematic designs, conversations, everything. We will resume from this point (or from some other one) if and when we have successfully negotiated an agreement with TxDOT to do so. I will inform eommissioners Court accordingly at their next meeting on September 27th."

Art says he's continuing to negotiate with TxDOT's Gary Trietsch, so there's no telling how long the County's hiatus will last.

As Anne says, it's better than nothing. Perhaps this will be one of those projects that just gets quietly shelved and never taken up again. Or maybe it'll become a hot priority later on down the line. Will any of the otherwise-indistinguishable Republican candidates for SD07 publicly state a position on this issue? Will a Democratic candidate challenge them on it? Stay tuned.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 30, 2005 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack

I actually sent emails to each of the declared candidates for SD7, asking where they stood on the GP. I'm not terribly surprised that I haven't received a response from any of them, since they don't know me from Adam. =)

Posted by: Anne on September 30, 2005 7:20 PM