"HOUSTON — A $9 billion highway widening project being proposed in the Houston area could become an important test of the Biden administration’s commitment to addressing what it has said is a history of racial inequity with infrastructure projects in the U.S.
The project’s critics, including community groups and some residents, say it won’t improve the area’s traffic woes and would subject mostly Black and Latino residents to increased pollution, displacement and flooding while not improving public transportation options.
Its supporters counter the proposed 10-year construction project that would remake 24 miles along Interstate 45 and several other roadways would enhance driver safety, help reduce traffic congestion and address flood mitigation and disaster evacuation needs.
The project, which has been in the works for nearly two decades, has remained on hold since March as the Federal Highway Administration reviews civil rights and environmental justice concerns raised about the proposal. Harris County, where Houston is located, has also filed a federal lawsuit alleging state officials ignored the project’s impacts on neighborhoods."