"I'm disappointed that this project, which is so important for walkability, drainage and overall quality of life is being deferred again," District C City Council Member Abbie Kamin told Community Impact Newspaper. "I’m not giving up on lower Westheimer. I have a commitment from the Public Works department that they are going to be re-submitting this project specifically for federal dollars ... and we are going to look for any available funding to make the project happen."
In the fiscal year 2019-20 CIP, construction was forecast for 2023. The project has been on the drawing board since 2016, ranging in cost from $14 million to almost $18 million, and was intended to address issues with sidewalks, bus stops and car crashes. The proposed project targeted Elgin Street and Westheimer Road from Main Street in midtown to Montrose Boulevard.
The city put in a bid to the Houston-Galveston Area Council for grant funding in 2018, but was denied because it did not rank high enough to warrant consideration, according to previous Community Impact Newspaper reporting.
Kamin said that the project could fare better this time around because the ranking criteria has changed.
Officials have blamed Hurricane Harvey and increasing cost estimates for affecting some project schedules, and projects that are removed can return in subsequent years when funding becomes available.
The CIP lays out a $9.15 billion schedule of projects over the next five years, including $2.33 billion in fiscal year 2020-21. This includes projects directly funded by the city's dedicated street and drainage fees as well as tax-increment reinvestment zones, which oversee projects in their defined areas.
Emma Whalen contributed to this report.