NHA’s Board of Directors approved the submission of the following public comments in regards to the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s draft evaluation criteria for the five investment categories of the project selection process: High Growth Area Needs, Resiliency, State of Good Repair, Transit and Major Projects). As an advocate for issues in northern Harris and Montgomery Counties, the North Houston Association is actively involved in regional mobility issues.
The North Houston Association (NHA) has a long history of actively advocating for mobility solutions for the north Houston region. Within our membership, we have numerous engineers and mobility experts, many of which serve on our Transportation Committee. A number of these committee members met to discuss the draft evaluation criteria and we are providing the following comments:
•In the “High Growth Area Needs” category, we request that in the third criteria listed, the word “multimodal” be removed. In many rural high growth areas, the density required to incorporate multimodal options isn’t yet a reality. The goal is to get ahead of development instead of waiting until congestion arises. In most rural areas that are under development, motorized vehicles are the only option, with large stretches of roadway that are unreasonable for pedestrian or bicycle traffic. Also, the largest number of points in the “High Growth Area Needs” category is tied to multimodal and could pit the urban and rural areas against one another.
• Another comment regarding the “High Growth Area Needs” category is related to defining the term. Because H-GAC is scoring the projects, they should be the ones to quantifiably define the definition of a High Growth Area. We would be happy to collaborate with you on a definition that would involve utilizing readily available data.
• The Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) scoring criteria is of concern to us because it’s 50% of the total score and leaves a large number of projects scoring less than the minimum. We understand that the criteria has already been determined, but we encourage you to consider modifying in the future.
We acknowledge the creation of a new project selection process is complex, and we appreciate H-GAC staff for the continuing opportunities to provide input on the process. We are happy to be involved and look forward to continued collaboration.