The Harris County Toll Road Authority is facing more opposition:
On April 7, members of Super Neighborhoods Nos. 39 and 40 unanimously approved a resolution that calls for changes to a state law so that the public can participate in decisions to build toll-funded roads or to convert free highways to toll roads.
"As it stands now, toll road authorities can act almost with impunity," Rich Farley, a representative of the Citizens' Transportation Coalition, told 20 residents during a meeting at South Post Oak Baptist Church. "It's really quite frightening. There are no public hearings. The local municipalities don't even have to be notified."
Jonnie Bryant, public information officer for the Harris County Toll Road Authority, said that while the toll road authority is not required to hold public hearings, it invites public comment.
"We always welcome comments," Bryant said. "We have an open-door policy, and individuals or groups can meet with our director, Mike Strech."
The Harris County Toll Road Authority is considering a toll road that would link up with the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road at U.S. 90 and Chimney Rock Drive and continue down South Post Oak Road to Loop 610.
"South Post Oak would be turned into a freeway," Farley said. "It would be a four-lane freeway with an extensive feeder system. It would require significant widening and would invade property on South Post Oak."
These two quotes toward the end mirror my own thinking:
Ronald Sinnette, president of the Central Southwest Super Neighborhood No. 40, said citizens need to be involved in the toll road process.
"We need a voice," he said. "We need a say in the things that involve our neighborhoods."
Rita Foretich, president of Central Southwest Super Neighborhood No. 39, said she doesn't have a problem with the concept of toll roads.
"I do have a problem with them sneaking them through, though," Foretich said.
HCTRA's ability (and any toll road authority, for that matter) to build at will without answering to neighborhoods or municipalities is the biggest problem here. Yes, I have my own reason for opposing HCTRA's ability to bulldoze wherever it pleases, but it's apparent that HCTRA's sights are set on more than the Grand Parkway running through Spring.