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Texas cities want millennials living downtown. So why does the state keep building highways to the suburbs?

As young, educated professionals push away old ideas about how to move around Texas cities, transportation planners’ vision for the future is still largely influenced by the past.

Interstate 345 in Dallas connects two major highways and separates downtown Dallas from the Deep Ellum neighborhood.
A man walks his dog near the farmers market in downtown Dallas in June 2018. The neighborhood has driven much of the population growth in the central business district in recent years.

“We have legitimately not created the infrastructure that makes it the most convenient and makes it the most effective.”

— Kyle Shelton, director of strategic partnerships for the Kinder Institute for Urban Research

A return to the urban core


Tallying the need

Kevin Feldt, a program manager for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, in his Arlington office where he works on transportation plans for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The coming population boom

Dallas North Tollway gantry June 19, 2018. Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

Legislative hurdles

A Dallas Area Rapid Transit light-rail train pulls out of the Deep Ellum Station in Dallas in June 2018.

“You’re not going to get passed in the Legislature money from the state for mass transit when you have such needs for road construction itself.”

— State Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton

A budgeting trick

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Demographics Economy State government Transportation Texas Legislature