For Immediate Release (March 3, 2009): Brandt Mannchen 512-477-1729 (Sierra Club office – Austin)
Grand Parkway Stimulus Funds Highway Robbery
Statement of Brandt Mannchen, Air Quality Chair, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club on the TxDOT Proposal to Fund the Houston Area Grand Parkway, Segment E with Federal Economic Stimulus Dollars
TxDOT’s proposal to spend economic stimulus money on the Grand Parkway is highway robbery. The Grand Parkway is the poster child of bad transportation projects – an environmentally destructive project that’s not needed, not ready, and not cost-effective.
TxDOT is using money from the federal stimulus package to prop up a project that could not be justified on its own merits. In doing so it’s subverting the intent of the stimulus package to fund needed projects that are truly “shovel ready.” Moreover, if the shovels for this project ever hit the ground, they’ll be tearing up a treasured Texas prairie and devastating wildlife habitat in the project’s path.
Funding the Grand Parkway, Segment E is bad public policy because it:
1) Would result in spending $181 million (Statewide Economic Recovery Funding Request) for the proposed GP, Segment E, or 14.48% of the TxDOT statewide road share of the economic stimulus funds.
2) Will divert funds from roads, streets, highways, and bridges that need to be rebuilt due to heavy use because they are where people live.
3) Will create a “Road to Nowhere” that will result in the destruction of at least 12,000 acres of the Katy Prairie and farm and ranch land.
4) Will destroy homes for hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese, songbirds, herons, egrets, Bald Eagles, hawks, and many other forms of wildlife.
5) Will pave over the Katy Prairie, which serves as a natural detention basin that lessens the chances that the City of Houston will flood during heavy rainfall events.
6) Is not “shovel ready” – All environmental reviews are not complete. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not received an application for, drafted, or approved a wetlands dredge and fill (Section 10/404) permit for TxDOT or Harris County.
7) Is an example of how TxDOT ignores the concerns of the public, state legislators, and the Sunset Advisory Commission.
For More Information:
Brandt Mannchen 512-477-1729 (Sierra Club office – Austin)