HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Tearing up Post Oak Boulevard to build dedicated bus lanes serving tony Uptown has been labeled a "nine figure boondoggle in the making" by critical residents and retailers.
But today Mayor Sylvester Turner re-affirmed his backing for the controversial project, despite plenty of evidence the City sorely needs the money elsewhere.
"Let me be very clear, as the Mayor of Houston I support this program. It will move forward," said Turner.
While Turner believes the project has the potential to help relieve growing congestion, his support is tempered by concerns.
"I think transparency is very important, knowing how they are spending their dollars is very important, making sure they are spending their dollars in a cost efficient fashion is very important," said Turner of the project initiated by the Uptown Management District with funding from its tax increment reinvestment zone
Critics claim the $120 million plus project has already drawn scrutiny from the Harris County District Attorney's office.
Opponents also say construction related to the 3 year project is destined to damage or destroy the viability of dozens of restaurants and retailers.
Hundreds have signed petitions.
"Why in the world mess with something that is one of the best retail and tax generating parts of all of Houston? Why even think about jeopardizing it? When you attack their margins, they just can’t make it, so I see absolutely no upside for the people there, only downside," said Jim Scarborough, Uptown resident and opponent of the bus project.
Mayor Turner insisted that kind of disruption simply can't be allowed to happen.
"I don't want to do anything that would adversely work against the businesses. I don't want to put them out of business because that's what helped to make the area what it is," said Turner.