Houston highway project sparks debate over racial equity

HOUSTON (AP) — A $9 billion highway widening project being proposed in the Houston area could become an important test of the Biden administration’s commitment to addressing what it says is a history of racial inequity with infrastructure projects. The proposed project would remake 24 miles along Interstate 45 and several other roadways. Critics say it won’t improve traffic flow and would subject mostly Black and Latino residents to increased pollution, displacement and flooding. Supporters say the project would enhance driver safety, help reduce traffic congestion and address flood mitigation. The debate comes as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has pledged to prioritize racial equity. His department is reviewing civil rights and environmental justice concerns raised about the proposal.