HOUSTON - The Grand Parkway may not be completed.
The Texas Department of Transportation said the project is under review.
Several sections, particularly the southwestern end of the toll road, could lose funding.
Here are five things to know about the Grand Parkway:
- The Grand Parkway is a proposed 180-mile circumferential highway traversing seven counties in the Greater Houston area. Conceptualized in the early 1960s, it is divided into 11 segments designated A through I-2. Segments B, C, D and I-1 are in jeopardy.
- Sections in Brazoria, Fort Bend and Galveston counties are on the chopping block. More than $1.3 billion of roadway, connectors and interchanges may be defunded because of a recent push by some TxDOT administrators and some Texas Transportation Committee members to move away from new state-funded toll roads.
- The about-face would stymie ever-vexing Houston-area traffic issues as the years tick by, according to U.S. Congressman Pete Olson, who penned a letter to TxDOT. Olson also states that future economic prosperity in Fort Bend, Brazoria and Galveston counties depend on the Grand Parkway expansion.
- Segments B, C and D, in those counties, may not be the only segments affected. Segment I-1 in Chambers County may be defunded, too. The resulting roadway would leave a semicircle, primarily to the north of Houston, instead of the originally contracted nearly fully enclosed loop. Some groups consider the defunding, if it happens, to be a breach of contract that could generate legal action.
- The new defunding plan is not set in stone, according to TxDOT. Here is their statement: "Due to the current non-tolled environment, the Commission felt it was important for the public to comment and express their views on these tolled projects. TxDOT’s proposed 10-year project plan for 2020 is currently in the public comment phase through August 12th. This means it is still being discussed and the public has the opportunity to provide input before the Texas Transportation Commission is expected to vote on it in late August. Public comments can be made here - https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/unified-transportation-program.html or by searching online for UTP public comment." -- Veronica Beyer, TxDOT spokesperson.
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