Dallas is currently dealing with an issue much like Denver’s I-70 expansion. An interstate that runs through their city, I-345, is scheduled to be repaired in the near future. However, a group of concerned citizens is pushing for the highway to be instead deconstructed. This would reconnect the city and open up land for development. However, the Texas Department of Transportation isn’t budging. Jason Heid of D Magazine has written this article, which explores the situation in Dallas. Although TxDOT is sticking to it’s decision, the local activists may find federal support for their campaign. This quote from the article explains the TIGER grants, which may pave the way for the removal of the highway:
Today brings word about new federal dollars for a project like this becoming available. In St. Paul, Minnesota, President Obama is going to launch a competition for $600 million in grants for transportation projects nationwide. It’s the sixth round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, which so far have resulted in giving $3.5 billion to 270 projects. (UPDATE: The Transportation Department has announced the deadline for applying is April 28.)
Even better news for anti-I-345 advocates, the 2014 TIGER program seems ideal for their proposal, since the White House has stated that this round of funding will give priority to “projects that make it easier for Americans to get to jobs, school, and other opportunities, promote neighborhood revitalization and business expansion, andreconnectneighborhoods that are unnaturally divided by physical barriers such as highways and railroads.”
I added the emphasis to that quote. If they want a share of that money, Dallas leaders will need to decide fast whether this teardown is what they want to do.
As you can see, Dallas’ movement and others like it could find support in the form of federal dollars. Dallas leaders face the decision of allowing TxDOT to continue with it’s planned repairs, or push the organization to instead consider the removal of the highway. With all the good that could come from the removal of the highway, we hope that they will make the right decision.