Commissioners heard from more speakers in favor of the controversial outer loop as they did from those against it. In the end, the court gave its blessing to approximately 10-million dollars in engineering contracts for Segment-E. It also approved the process of commissioning a traffic and revenue study for the 15-mile segment. Commissioner Steve Radack had some concerns about the viability.
"The county attorney has been involved in it to put us in a better position to protect our investment. So, it is a positive step I think, to move forward."
Radack was also concerned that the segment would not pay for itself as a toll road.
"I think we're going to be in excellent shape to pay, and an oustanding position, particularly if we get this stimulus money, which I think we will."
In accepting 181 million in stimulus funding means construction must be completed within three years.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says the days of new roads being free are behind us:
"Seems to be, unfortunately. I mean, everybody would rather drive on a free road like we used to, but the one thing everybody's committed to is we won't go in and put tolls on an existing free road."
Pat Hernandez, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.
Map image from http://www.grandpky.com/segments/e/.