Chamber supports completion of SH 99; Businesses can weigh in via social media campaign
HUMBLE, TX – The Lake Houston Area Chamber recently engaged with Greater Houston Partnership and numerous Houston area chambers of commerce and economic development entities regarding TxDOT’s consideration of removing some segments of the Grand Parkway (SH 99) from the Unified Transportation Program (UTP).
The Chamber has sent a letter to Governor Abbott as well as state senators and representatives elected from our area expressing concern for removing segments of SH 99 from the UTP and the importance of its completion for the Lake Houston Area. Read Letter Here.
Businesses can weigh in via social media campaign through August 29 using Hashtag: #PreserveTheParkway. Information on segments being considered and background on the issue is below.
Segments being considered:
1. Segments B, C, D and I of the Grand Parkway (SH 99) are being considered for removal<http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/tpp/utp/2020-toll.pdf> from the 2020 UTP. The Parkway is the third loop running around Houston (map of project<https://www.txdot.gov/business/partnerships/current-cda/sh99-grand-parkway.html>) being developed in 11 segments, with some segments already open to traffic and others yet to be constructed or improved:
- Segment B is a proposed from I-45 South (the Gulf Freeway) in League City toward Alvin and on to SH 288 (South Freeway) near Rosharon through Galveston and Brazoria counties.
- Segment C is a proposed from SH 288 (South Freeway) near Rosharon to US 59 South (Southwest Freeway) in Sugar Land, through Brazoria and Fort Bend counties.
- Segment D is an existing road from US 59 South (Southwest Freeway) in Sugar Land north to I-10 West (Katy Freeway) near Katy. This segment has been open since 1994, but there are significant proposed improvements in Fort Bend and Harris Counties.
- Segment I lies east of Houston in Chambers County. The project includes a direct connector between the Parkway and I-10.
* The Unified Transportation Program (UTP) is the long-term transportation planning document authorizing the development, funding, and construction of roads across Texas.
* There has been some opposition to toll roads in recent years. In 2017, state leaders expressed opposition to the inclusion of tolls on several new, major projects. And as recently as 2019, Rep. Mayes Middleton introduced, but did not pass, HB 2781 requiring that TxDOT not charge a toll on some segments of the Parkway. By contrast, some local governments have strongly supported the Parkway project.
* As a result of the anti-toll sentiment, no new toll projects have been added to the UTP in recent years. However, some toll projects remain in the UTP after being added in prior years when tolling was a tenable option.
* Today, the current proposal for the 2020 UTP would go a step further and remove all remaining toll projects that exist in the UTP, including several Grand Parkway segments.
* The removal is merely a proposal at this point. In June, the Texas Transportation Commissioners expressed genuine interest in hearing from the public on whether the public supports or opposes the proposal. The Commission will vote in August on whether to remove the projects.
* If you’d like more in-depth information:
* News article: July 12, 2019 – Houston Chronicle – TxDOT may take Grand Parkway out of future highway plan<https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/TxDOT-may-take-Grand-Parkway-out-of-future-14092430.php?t=e738f2f5f2>
* Watch the July 12, 2019 Public Involvement Meeting<https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/unified-transportation-program.html> (click the MP4 link, beginning at 18:20)
* Watch the June 26, 2019 TxDOT Workshop<https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/administration/commission/2019-meetings.html> on the Draft 2020 UTP (Agenda Item 2.b., beginning at 17:25)
About the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce: The Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization of professional business men and women who have joined together for the purpose of promoting the civic and commercial progress of the Lake Houston Area. The Chamber is the organized voice for the quality of life and business related issues at the local, state and federal level of government and is the front door to our community for tourism and business relocation information. The Lake Houston Area Chamber is comprised of 1,100 members and serves Atascocita, Fall Creek, Humble, Kingwood, Summerwood and portions of East Montgomery County.