After years of back and forth trying to find a mutually acceptable compromise on the 45N NHHIP rebuild plan – including a lawsuit by Harris County – TXDoT and Harris County finally came to a historic agreement today that will reshape Houston mobility for decades to come. The breakthrough came when TXDoT agreed to award the $9 billion dollar contract to Elevate Strategies run by Democratic strategist Felicity Pereyra, the company previously tagged to manage an $11 million Covid outreach contract over UT Health. Even though TXDoT independently scored long-time road builder Williams Brothers at 100 and Elevate Strategies at zero, County Judge Lina Hidalgo expressed confidence in the one-woman firm’s ability to come up to speed quickly on managing a $9 billion, decade-long freeway rebuild.
“Felicity is an absolute wizard at acquiring and distributing funds in creative ways,” said Hidalgo.
The exact details of the revised project have yet to be worked out, but some broad outlines were given conforming to the City’s Vision Zero (traffic deaths) and climate change carbon reduction plans:
- 5 bike lanes in each direction
- 17mph light rail down the middle
- Remaining general-purpose lanes limited to 35mph electric vehicles with traffic-calming speed humps every 100 feet
In unrelated news, the campaign to re-elect Judge Hidalgo received an unexpectedly generous $50 million contribution from an anonymous donor.
- 2021: Baylor forfeits to UH after positive covid test – UH goes straight to national championship game!
- 2020: NBA playoffs to be held in Houston during April lockdown
- 2019: Mayor Turner and firefighters agree to compromise on Prop B
- 2018: Mayor unveils compliant housing models for new post-Harvey flood elevation regulations
- 2017: City bike plan expanded to include freeways
- 2016: TXDoT responds to Mayor Turner’s call to rethink urban transportation and freeways
- 2015: J.J. Watt running for Mayor of Houston
- 2014: HPD forming task force against ride services
- 2013: Astrodome to be restored to host 2017 Super Bowl LI
- 2012: Hobby to close, IAH turned over to United
- 2008: Neighborhood happy with new Ashby tower modifications
- 2007: Mayor expands historic preservation, air pollution initiatives
- 2006: Metro settles Universities/Westpark/Richmond rail alignment
- 2005: Houston embraces “New Weather Urbanism”
Read the rest of this piece at Houston Strategies Blogspot.
Tory Gattis is a Founding Senior Fellow with the Urban Reform Institute (formerly Center for Opportunity Urbanism) and co-authored the original study with noted urbanist Joel Kotkin and others, creating a city philosophy around upward social mobility for all citizens as an alternative to the popular smart growth, new urbanism, and creative class movements. He is also an editor of the Houston Strategies blog.