Advocates call for delay in vote on major I-45 expansion plans

By Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor, Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - Community advocates called for a delay Tuesday in the planned vote aimed at funding an expansion plan for Interstate 45 in Houston.

The vote by the Houston-Galveston Area Council planned for Friday would address a request by the Texas Department of Transportation for a $100 million down payment to rebuild the portion of I-45 from Interstate 10 to the Interstate 610 North Loop.

READ: Q&A about the I-45 rerouting plans

Groups like Air Alliance Houston, LINK Houston, the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice and the Make I-45 Better Coalition gathered outside B.K. Bruce Elementary School, saying the expansion would bring the heavily traveled freeway to the school’s property line.

Houston Independent School District board member Rhonda Skillern-Jones said the delay would allow more time for studies to be completed to address concerns on adverse impacts to low-income communities and students who would lose their homes as part of the project.

“Limiting the right of way would address all of these issues,” Skillern-Jones said. “There’s no harm in delaying.”

The groups asked that the vote be postponed until 2020.

If the project goes through, it will take over 15 years to complete and will cost around $7 billion.

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