The social and economic consequences of highway construction in Texas have long been linked to a history of inequity. But now a planned Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT, project to expand Interstate 45 into Houston’s Third Ward, possibly displacing a majority of Black and brown residents, has been put on hold by action of the Federal Highway Administration.
Megan Kimble is executive editor at the Texas Observer. She told Texas Standard the I-45 expansion has been in the works for nearly a decade. It would enlarge the highway from the north side of Houston, into downtown, connecting a number of highways.
“For years, community groups have been organizing against the project, saying it would displace residents and destroy businesses,” Kimble said. “And, in fact, TxDOT’s own environmental impact statement, which they released last year, has the impact at 1,000 homes and nearly 300 businesses.”
Highlights from this segment:
– If the project were completed, many homeowners would lose their homes and two public housing projects that lie in the path of the highway would be razed.
– Residents worry that added air pollution would affect the area, including nearby elementary schools.
– In Corpus Christi federal intervention in a controversial bridge project resulted in many residents receiving assistance from the federal government to move out of homes that were impacted by the project.