Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Streetsblog California home
Log In
Streetsblog USA

Dallas Council Member: Texas Poised to “Compound Errors of the Past”

11:04 AM PDT on October 22, 2015

The entire Texas highway machine -- suburban real estate moguls, the construction industry, the governor, and the legislature -- is pushing voters to approve Prop 7, a constitutional amendment that would mandate spending $2.5 billion in state sales tax revenue on un-tolled roads. The highway interests are telling Texas voters in unison that this measure, if approved in November, will fix congestion and not cost them any extra money -- claims that don't stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

Philip Kingston represents downtown Dallas on City Council. Photo: City of Dallas
Philip Kingston represents downtown Dallas on the City Council. Photo: City of Dallas
false

But there hasn't been much pushback against the story that Prop 7 backers are selling. The Dallas Morning News' Brandon Formby reported that the only voice of political opposition is Dallas City Council Member Philip Kingston, who represents downtown.

I spoke with Kingston this week about why he thinks Prop 7 is going to be terrible for the state. Here's our Q&A, edited for length and clarity.

I read in the Dallas Morning News that you -- and only you -- have some concerns about Prop 7.

Yeah, the Dallas Morning News said I’m the only person in Texas opposed to it.

It is incredibly bad policy. It got worse recently. The governor issued a directive saying the money from Prop 7 is to be directed at the worst areas of highway congestion in the state. We already know what those are: Those are massive double-decked highway projects inside urban areas.

We’re going to compound the errors of the past with all kinds of new money.

And this is going to negatively impact your constituents?

I represent downtown. We have the most congested roads in the city. The way that people have proposed to fix it is to increase lane miles. It’s just going induce demand, reduce air quality, and perpetuate the suburban hellscape.

Dallas recently built the immensely popular Klyde Warren park on a cap over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, which could be targeted for widening if Prop 7 passes. PhotoL Klyde Warren Park
Dallas recently built the immensely popular Klyde Warren park on a cap over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, which could be targeted for widening if Prop 7 passes. Photo: Klyde Warren Park
false

It’s existential for us. We’ve seen what highways have done to our city. We’re not going to take it anymore. The more we’ve looked at these issues, the more it appears highway planning has ruined Dallas’s chances of becoming an urban city. Why won’t they listen to us?

Do you have any idea what projects might happen?

One is the Woodall Rodgers Freeway right to the heart of [my] district. We built a park over it [right]. I hope that’s enough to scare them away.

What would you rather see the money spent on?

I’d love to have that money for transit if we’re going to keep it in the transportation space. Two bigger needs are education and mental health.

These guys in the legislature, they’re bought and sold by the highway lobby.

We have never reached attainment for air quality in Dallas -- ever. We’re never going to get there.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog California

Who Regrets Tearing Down the Embarcadero Freeway?

An excerpt from John King's "Portal: San Francisco's Ferry Building and the Reinvention of American Cities"—and a reminder of how much attitudes can change about car-dominated cities and infrastructure

February 27, 2024

CicLAvia Melrose Open Thread

CicLAvia hosts its 50th open streets event - on four miles of Melrose Avenue from East Hollywood to Fairfax

February 27, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines

Another study says the best way to cut emissions is to cut driving; Fresno County's new General Plan would invite more driving; Why do firefighters oppose safe streets? More

February 27, 2024

Monday’s Headlines

People fight over bike lanes but come around in the end; Drivers getting more distracted; CalEnviroScreen is "flawed"; More

February 26, 2024
See all posts