I-345 in Dallas, which separates downtown from Deep Ellum. Munn Harris Architects

Politics & Government

Jason Villalba Supports Tearing Down I-345, If It Makes Financial Sense (Which It Does)

We are approaching unanimity on this issue.

Yesterday something quite remarkable happened. I’d like to draw your attention to the matter.

Between now and May 4, election day, we are doing a podcast with each of the mayoral candidates (except Eric Johnson, whose non-participation we will discuss later). Yesterday we posted the podcast with Jason Villalba, who told us that he supports tearing down I-345 if the numbers add up. Then, just a couple hours later, we had a post about the Congress for the New Urbanism’s annual list of “Freeways Without Futures.” So let’s bring these two posts together. First, what Villalba said. Then, what the CNU said:

Villalba said, “I think the studies are in. I-345 has resulted in the separation of a neighborhood and a separation of our community. It think it coming down makes logistical sense for Dallas. I think it does bring together two areas that were separated years ago when we did that. That being said, how do you pay for this, right? … If you’re saying that the increase in taxable property values would shoulder the cost of the removal, then I think we can get there. … If the financials work, I’m in favor of removing I-345.”

CNU said, “The removal of the elevated highway will open up 245 acres of urban land for potential development—envisioned as walkable urban blocks, with squares and neighborhood public spaces within a short distance of each building. According to TxDOT’s CityMAP study, the complete removal would generate $2.5 billion in new property value … . [T]he city would receive $80 million each year in tax revenue with complete removal … .”

And how much would it cost to demolish the thing? About $65 million. If you’d like to look at the numbers in more detail, they are all right here.

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