Tomorrow, I will join community leaders to celebrate the opening of the much-anticipated SH 360 South expansion and to dedicate the Rosa Parks Memorial Parkway.
This road has been a long time coming and I am honored to have been a part of the effort for several years.
When I first took office in 2009, I held several town hall meetings where I heard from constituents about the need to extend the main lanes of the highway south of Sublett/Camp Wisdom to keep up with southeast Tarrant County’s growth. Soon after, I put together a working group focused on SH 360 that included city and county leaders, representatives from the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA), Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG).
The group met through 2010 and we were able to make much-needed progress; so much so that the-then executive director of NTTA wrote, “(the) SH360 Working Group has been essential to the progress that has been achieved up to this point…”.
By 2013, with the groundwork laid and with broad support from the community, NTTA and TxDOT signed a memorandum of understanding with a formal agreement to follow the next year.
There were some hiccups along the way, including a scare in the 2015 legislative session that the House had passed a measure that would have inadvertently prohibited TxDOT from participating in the 360 project, thereby killing the project. But after a number of late night phone calls, I got an iron-clad assurance from the Chairman of the Transportation Commission that 360 would be built, and we’ve never looked back since.
Last year, I authored and passed the measure to name the portion of SH 360 in House District 101 the Rosa Parks Memorial Parkway. Tomorrow, we will unveil a plaque that reads:
The Texas Legislature has designated this important Southeast Tarrant County road the Rosa Parks Memorial Parkway, in honor of an American hero whose courage helped to change our nation for the better. As a black woman in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, Ms. Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man. This act of courage inspired the Civil Rights Movement, which aimed to eliminate racial discrimination and make the American Dream possible for all people. Ms. Parks’ fight for equality and fairness spanned her entire life, as she continued to tackle issues such as affordable housing and public education until her death in 2005.
“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free…so other people would also be free.” -Rosa Parks
After years of anticipation and a lot of hard work, 360 South will (finally) open on Friday. It’s going to be a good day for District 101.