Another step in the march of the inevitable.
The state Transportation Commission on Thursday granted the Texas Department of Transportation authority to begin design work and negotiating contracts to build a key segment of the Grand Parkway.
The unanimous vote did not, however, authorize funds to start work on Segment E of the tollway, which would link the Katy Freeway to the Northwest Freeway, just west of Fairfield.
“The Grand Parkway project is an important project for our region and our state,” said state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands. “Having a loop that passes around Houston, whether it’s the third or fourth loop depending on where you start counting them, … will help reduce congestion and facilitate economic development.”
Williams, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, called the parkway one of his highest priorities.
TxDOT spokesman Mark Cross said the agency estimates it will cost about $350 million to build the 15 miles of toll road linking Interstate 10 to U.S. 290. He said the agency has no construction time frame, but the Transportation Commission wants work under way as soon as possible.
When completed, the parkway would be about 180 miles in circumference – running as far north as Tomball and New Caney, as far south as League City, as far west as Katy, and as far east as Baytown. The total price tag for the project is expected to exceed $6 billion.
I don’t care to re-litigate all of this, because I know you know where I stand, but the Grand Parkway sure ain’t going to help alleviate any congestion I encounter. Beyond that, all I really want to know is where we’re getting the money for this, and what projects TxDOT will not be doing while it engages in this elaborate and unnecessary bit of exurban planning.