Regional Transportation Plan Set for Public Scrutiny

Public comment starts this week on a broad, long range transportation plan that could shape how the region looks in 25 years. As Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports, leaders in the eight county Houston area could officially adopt the massive transportation gameplan as early as this summer.

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The Houston-Galveston Area Council has been working on the details 2035 regional transportation plan| for several years now. It's a collaboration on a huge scale that takes into account the needs of a region that could have an extra 3 million residents in 30 years.

"It includes the plans that are developed by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, by Texas Department of Transportation, cities and counties and it pulls them all together into one comprehensive plan for the 8-county region."

Kari Hackett is in the middle of it all. He's the program manager for the HGAC's transportation department and says planners have learned that more freeways won't necessarily solve the region's transportation plans, that denser developments, like town centers similar to ones in the Woodlands and Sugar Land make more sense.

"Mixed-use types of development that would include residential, commercial, retail sort of in the same area of land. Over a long period of time with the growth that's projected, it's going to be important to try to have more folks sort of live closer in and work within the same general areas."

There are five town hall meetings scheduled this month for public comment, the first this Thursday at the Lone Star Convention Center in Conroe. HGAC officials expect to hear from hundreds of residents who have a stake in how things look here in three decades. Hackett says the input is welcomed.

"A lot of these folks have traveled in other parts of the world and so they've seen transportation systems work better in other places perhaps better than they do here. They bring that knowledge and that experience here to us and I think it's really a challenge for all of us as a community to try to figure out ways to make our transportation system work better in the future than it does today."

The 2035 plan includes about $92 billion in sponsored transportation and clean air projects. You can find a list of the locations for the public meetings and more information about the plan through a link on our website,

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