A new partnership between county and transportation leaders in the region will focus solely on enhancing, advancing and expanding multimodal connections within the 22-mile stretch of Westpark Tollway.

The details

Within the oversight between officials within the city of Houston, Harris County, Fort Bend County and the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, results from the Westpark Tollway Study will determine how feasible it would be to add an additional 16 miles to the tollway through Harris and Fort Bend counties.Quote of note

Fort Bend County Judge K.P. George said at the Dec. 14 signing ceremony that the decision to partner with various entities was needed for the future economic development and growth of the region.

“This collaborative effort exemplifies the power of partnership in achieving transformative outcomes which you will see in the coming years in this region. I look forward not only to connecting regions but also building a foundation for sustained economic growth, enhanced job opportunities and a more interconnected and vibrant future for everyone collectively,” George said.

Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Lesley Briones said that her office is also looking for federal funding opportunities to advance the project.

"We can truly use taxpayer dollars to reflect the desires and needs of the taxpayer. That will be of fundamental importance as we move forward," Briones said.

In December, the Federal Transit Administration approved the environmental review for METRO’s university corridor project. The 25-mile line will connect Westchase Park & Ride and the Tidwell Transit Center. According to a news release, the bus line will provide service to major employment, education and health care centers, and operate in a dedicated lane that aims to offer faster service for commuters.

FTA's approval paves the way for the METRO’s university transit line to enter its engineering phase in early 2024, bringing the project closer to its projected construction start date in 2026 and its anticipated service launch in 2029.
(Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)
The METRORapid University Corridor Project is part of the voter-approved METRONext Moving Forward Plan, which called for 500 miles of travel improvements to bolster mobility in the Houston region without a tax increase. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)

Zooming out

Completed in 2005, the Westpark Tollway is a major east-west thoroughfare for the Fulshear and Katy areas. The tollway runs approximately 22 miles from the Uptown District in Houston’s Galleria area to Fulshear in northwest Fort Bend County.

  • The thoroughfare serves four major employment centers in Harris County Precinct 4.
  • An average of more than 25,000 vehicles use the Westpark Tollway every day.
  • An average of 180,000 transactions are processed per day along the tollway.
  • Nearly 5 million trips are made along the tollway per month.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that the partnership’s resources will allow for the creation of more transit connections to jobs and schools that will keep the city competitive in the region as it continues to grow.

Asia Armour contributed to this report.