Yesterday happened and there was no TEA takeover of HISD schools.
Commentary heard something yesterday about the behind-the-scenes discussions on the takeover. The public and even the media isn’t being provided the full picture. I need to get more information and clarification before I discuss further. It has to do with local control can be local control if you really want local control. Got it?
This is from the Chron just now:
Nearly two years to the day that federal officials paused TxDOT’s plans for rebuilding Interstate 45 and downtown Houston’s freeway system, national and state highway leaders have come to an agreement that will let the rebuild proceed, but with numerous concessions aimed at addressing the project’s impacts on low-income and minority neighborhoods.
The Federal Highway Administration and Texas Department of Transportation announced Tuesday morning they had reached an agreement, similar to those TxDOT reached with Harris County and Houston in December, outlining various commitments related to the planned $9.7 billion rebuild of I-45 from downtown Houston north to Beltway 8. The agreement immediately lifts the federal pause placed on the project on March 8, 2021, and resolves the audit conducted by federal officials related to TxDOT’s adherence to federal environmental rules.
“This agreement moves forward an important project, responds to community concerns, and improves the North Houston Highway Improvement Project in ways that will make a real difference in people’s lives. Through this agreement the community will have a greater voice in the design and throughout the project’s life cycle,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt, in a statement.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, who pressed for TxDOT to communicate more with the community and take air quality and housing loss concerns seriously, welcomed the announcement.
“We are not where we absolutely wanted to be, but we are not where we were,” Jackson Lee said, crediting local officials for demanding changes and TxDOT for eventually offering solutions.
“We are much further along than we ever could have been, and that is the power of the federal government,” she said, noting the sway TxDOT possessed before federal questions arose. “The community was not listened to, and I applaud the complaints that have been listened to have led us to this agreement.”
The effect of the agreement and lifting of any restrictions means the project can remain on track for significant work to begin in 2027 — six years later than TxDOT planned as recently as 2020 — but also has the potential to change the current designs or apply more modern flood control standards along the route.
In a statement, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the freeway rebuild “can now be the project Houston deserves it to be,” because it improves drainage in neighborhoods “while maximizing the opportunities for people to stay in their homes and neighborhoods.”
Unlike the agreements with the city and county, the deal reached with federal officials holds TxDOT to both oversight and enforcement of many of the specifics. As part of the agreement, TxDOT will:
- conduct twice-annual public meetings during development and construction, expected to take more than a decade, to update the community on the progress and plans for detours during construction.
- submit progress reports to FHWA, which will be posted publicly on a federal webpage dedicated to the project.
- add another $3 million to the $27 million TxDOT already committed to help the Houston Housing Authority develop new affordable housing opportunities, mirroring the promise TxDOT previously made to the city.
- commit $1.5 million to create parks and trails, in particular to replace park space near the Kelly Village public housing complex.
- support the creation of the Emancipation National Historic Trail, a proposed federally-sponsored historical route chronicling the journey of freed slaves from Galveston to Houston, including trail links and planning for historical displays along the footprint of I-45.
- coordinate detours near two schools with Houston Independent School District so plans for how children will ride bicycles and walk to school are approved and how bike access will be preserved once the freeway is rebuilt.
Here is the entire read: TxDOT’s I-45 rebuild to resume after pause lifted on $9.7B project (houstonchronicle.com).
Stay tuned for sure.
For being a season ticket holder, the team gave me an option of one of the following:
Take 5 Swings: Step up to the plate at Minute Maid Park and take 5 swings for each seat on your account. That’s 10 swings.
An exclusive season ticket holder bobblehead.
Last season I went with the bobblehead, and it is one of the coolest ever. It is the Dusty Baker bobblehead.
I have not swung a bat in like a few decades. It would probably be 10 whiffs or not getting it out of the infield.