Rep. Nehls Pushes Back Against Unelected Bureaucrats Disrupting I-45 Expansion Project

Last week, along with six members of the Houston-area Congressional Delegation, I sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg urging he wrap up reviews of the Interstate 45 North Houston Highway Improvement Project in order for the project to begin groundwork. This planned reconstruction of I-45 will mitigate traffic congestion, expand commerce opportunities, make needed safety improvements, establish I-45 as a viable hurricane evacuation route, and prepare the Houston region’s infrastructure for projected population growth. Since March, the project has been put on pause due to an ongoing review by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The Houston lawmakers and I have raised concerns over unelected Washington bureaucrats interfering in the local undertaking.

“We appreciate your mayoral experience, and while it did not expose you to issues impacting a community as large, diverse, or in a storm surge hazard area like Houston, we are sure that you wanted what was best for your constituents,” we wrote. “The [North Houston Highway Improvement Project] will improve safety and travel speed along I-45 and provide an irreplaceable hurricane evacuation route. Houston and the entire Southeast Texas region need this project to be completed.”

We also raised concerns about outside groups interfering in the Houston project.

“While one of our colleagues asked for the initial pause, a disturbing amount of opposition to the project is coming from outside of Texas,” we wrote. “One of the major local advocacy groups opposed to the project is backed by national environmentalist groups like Extinction Rebellion,  Democratic Socialists of America, and the Sunrise Movement.  While we support and appreciate local communities engaging in government and the decisions that impact them, it is disingenuous to cloak radical environmentalism with alleged local considerations.”

Read the full letter HERE.


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