Federal officials now investigating I-45 expansion project

Here's what we know.

HOUSTON – In the heart of Houston’s Greater 5th Ward is Bruce Elementary. Its future may be in jeopardy, according to critics of the I-45 expansion project, if the plans to redesign and expand the I-45 from downtown Houston to Greenspoint to Beltway 8 don’t get a second look.

“We just want fairness. That’s what we want, fairness,” said U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, (D) Texas 18th District.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee said she believes TxDot’s current design unfairly targets historic neighborhoods and communities of color that are home to public housing.

The federal government is now investigating whether the project violates civil rights.

Monday afternoon, community stakeholders went on a tour to see firsthand what the impact will be on public safety and the environment.

“We want the best quality transportation we can get -- safe and secure, but respectful of long term residents, the history and the health of the environment of the business quality,” Jackson Lee said.

While most of the project is largely still on pause, last week, limited work was allowed to continue after being halted for nine months. Jackson Lee said this won’t end the federal investigation.

“They will not stop the investigation until they turn over every single aspect of what is harming this community,” she said.

TxDot released the following statement in regards to the investigation:

“We invite you to view comments by TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams and Deputy Executive Director Brandye Hendrickson from the Opening Remarks of the November 30 Texas Transportation Commission meeting for context on TxDOT’s understanding of the project status. The video is accessible using this link: http://txdot.swagit.com/play/11302021-562.”

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