City Of Houston, Harris County and TxDOT Announce New Memorandum of Understanding for The North Houston Highway Improvement Project
By Forward Times Newswire
Mayor Sylvester Turner recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) regarding the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP).
“The City of Houston has spoken as a voice for our residents, and I will continue to support the project as long as my goals of resilience, multimodal transportation and equity are met,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Coming together under this MOU provides a path forward that will benefit us all.”
Harris County leaders, including Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Commissioner Adrian Garcia and County Attorney Christian Menefee were also present at the news conference to announce the Harris County MOU and offer support in advancing TxDOT’s North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP).
The city’s MOU will focus on six key areas:
- Housing and Community Cohesion
- Drainage and Flood Mitigation
- Reducing the NHHIP Footprint During Detailed Design
- Transit and MaX Lanes
- And Park Space and Urban Design
The NHHIP is designed from IH 45 North Corridor from Beltway 8 North to and around Downtown Houston. It will provide connectivity for residents and businesses within and beyond the State of Texas.
“As I’ve said before, the NHHIP done the right way can be a transformational and generation-level project, enhancing connectivity, increasing mobility, and significantly lowering flood and existing parks and greenspace impacts,” said Mayor Turner. “This MOU represents the commitment, ongoing collaboration and communication between county, city, and state governments to meet the needs of residents and businesses within the region. It also provides resources for Houstonians to stay in their neighborhoods, as our people, our residents, are the heart of our city.”
TxDOT will engage the public throughout the period of construction to ensure communities are informed about developments, congestion, transportation issues and other related matters. The public will also be able to submit comments to TxDOT throughout the life of the project.
“Both the Memorandum of Understanding executed with Mayor Turner, and the agreed upon terms and conditions agreed to with Harris County, which will warrant their dismissal of the lawsuit against the project, represent how staying focused on common ground and the benefits to the region in key areas of interest have provided an outcome that will enhance the I-45 NHHIP project as we move forward,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan.
Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis had the following to say about the agreement:
“For decades, building highways has torn apart Black and Hispanic communities – increasing wealth gaps and harming public health. We cannot afford to keep making the same mistakes. Harris County deserves 21st-century investments in infrastructure that put safety, equity and opportunity first. The I-45 expansion, as originally designed by TXDOT, did not meet those needs. Thank you to County Attorney Christian Menefee and everyone who came together to demand better. Your efforts have carried us to this moment and charted a course for advocacy across Texas and across the country. We expect TxDOT to uphold its end of the agreement, and not only to evaluate the impacts over the next year but to agree to and fund real solutions that address concerns about displacement, pollution, flooding, and impacts on the public transportation network. We also look forward to the results of ongoing federal civil rights investigations on the project’s impacts. We set an important precedent. Local government cannot, should not, and will not sit idly while the state decides for us what our future holds. We will fight for the Harris County our community deserves.”