Wealthy Developer Finds Money to Fund Freeway Project, Despite Opposition

Houston's third outerbelt, the Grand Parkway, continues to move forward despite an outpouring of opposition, highlighting the special, institutionalized role real estate developers play in transportation decisions in Texas, writes Angie Schmitt.

Schmitt explains how a man named Ned Holmes, who claims to be a developer but has no website or known developments, stepped forward to fund an unpopular freeway project:

"A real estate developer, Texas DOT commissioner and prominent businessman, Holmes "found" the $350 million in unbudgeted money needed to move the project forward another 15 miles in its relentless, multi-decade march into the Houston region's last natural grasslands.

In many ways Ned Holmes fits the profile of the government officials that have pushed this project forward in the past: He's a real estate developer occupying a public office that gives him enormous power to shape the built environment."

Thanks to Angie Schmitt

Full Story: TxDOTs Close Connections to the Real Estate Industry Raise Conflict of Interest Questions
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