David Crossley would like to know.
Let’s say you found $350 million to do a great transportation project for the Houston region. Would you use it to build a 400-foot-wide, 15-mile-long segment of brand-new highway across the Katy Prairie wetlands where almost no one lives or works in order to enable a lot of sprawling development (and some new flooding) for future residents? Or would you use it to, say, build commuter rail service along U.S. 290 to serve nearly a million people who live there today?
The reason I ask is that there’s a public meeting next week where you could go and tell the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) what you think would be a good (or bad) use of that money. The information about that is at the end of this article.
Maybe you would tell them to use it to do a whole bunch of projects that we don’t otherwise have money for right now, like rebuild State Highway 6 and FM 1960 from I-10 to I-45? If you did all the proposals that are on the table for that corridor, you’d still have $315 million left. What then? Do 2920? 1488? Do all of them?
Crossley’s piece also appeared as an op-ed in the Chron. The $350 million figure of course comes from the money TxDOT magically found to pay for the Grand Parkway. (Remind me again why we have to vote to build light rail lines, but not new highways?) If you can think of something better to do with this money, here’s how to let TxDOT know:
[C]onsider going to TxDOT’s public meeting to talk about the 2011-2014 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) on Wed., May 25. The email I got says, “All interested citizens are invited to attend and express their views on the program.”
The meeting is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m at the TxDOT–Houston District Auditorium, 7600 Washington Ave. Be sure to go and talk about how you would like TxDOT to spend that $350 million.
Or at least send some comments to Texas Department of Transportation, Attention: Lori Morel, 118 East Riverside Drive, Austin, Texas, 78704, or by email to Lori.Morel@txdot.gov. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. Monday, June 6, 2011. Department officials will be surprised, I bet.
You can also go to spend350million.org and leave a comment there. Speak now or forever hold your peace.