Texas Prairie Endangered By Stimulus Funding

A proposed toll road near Houston exemplifies an unintended effect of the stimulus: encouraging sprawl.
March 23, 2009, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Over the years the Katy Prairie has survived the cattle ranchers who tamed its fields, the rice farmers who cleared its wildflowers and tall grasses, and even the encroachment of Houston, some 30 miles to the east, whose spiraling outward growth turned most of the formerly lonesome prairie into subdivisions and strip malls.

Now the prairie is facing a new threat: the federal stimulus law.

Texas plans to spend $181 million of its federal stimulus money on building a 15-mile, four-lane toll road - from Interstate 10 to Highway 290 and right through the prairie - that will eventually form part of an outer beltway around greater Houston called the Grand Parkway.

The road exemplifies an unintended effect of the stimulus law: an administration that opposes suburban sprawl is giving money to states for projects that are almost certain to exacerbate it."

Thanks to Kevin Mahoney

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Published on Monday, March 23, 2009 in The New York Times
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