Rethink 35 and other organizations are suing TxDOT over its I-35 Capital Express Central project. Should FAN join these other organizations as a plaintiff in the lawsuit?
As announced here, FAN’s membership voted in October 2021 to oppose TxDOT’s plan to expand IH-35 and called for considering community alternatives such as Rethink35 and Reconnect Austin, as well as impacts on air quality, noise, safety, vehicle miles traveled, climate change, and the tax base.
Since then, TxDOT conducted an environmental study of the options, per the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), culminating in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The lawsuit would contend that the analysis lacked sufficient environmental consideration, e.g. with respect to air and water quality impacts. If successful, it might result in redoing the NEPA process, giving city leadership and the community more leverage in altering the project and addressing new NEPA standards regarding air quality.
FAN and other prospective co-plaintiffs are not obligated to contribute financially to the lawsuit, but having diverse and numerous organizations joining the lawsuit would make a powerful statement. So far, at least two neighborhood association members of FAN, Friends of Hyde Park and Mueller Neighborhood Association, have already voted to join the lawsuit.