The Bill To Force an Astrodome Garage-ification Election Is Dead, Again, For Now

The state bill proposed by Houston-area senator John Whitmire (to require a vote on major county-funded upgrades to certain Texas stadiums that happen to be the Astrodome) was killed in the Texas House by a different Houston-area legislator, Robert Arnold reports this week for KHOU. (That likely means the work on Harris County’s plan to fill in the bottom of the Dome with an underground parking garage can go ahead without a special election on the spending.) The bill actually passed the Senate at the end of March, but died in the House’s County Affairs committee chaired by representative Garnet Coleman (whose own legislative district ever-so-slightly overlaps Whitmire’s around Fourth Ward: From there, Coleman’s District 147 stretches down through Third Ward toward the Beltway along the Gulf Freeway, while Whitmire’s Senate District 15 horseshoes up 290 to FM 1960 and Humble before looping back down to the Ship Channel). Arnold says the bill made an unsuccessful comeback attempt as an amendment to another measure, and looks to be dead for now as of yesterday’s end of the normal legislative calendar. (Then again — who knows what might pop up during a special session?)

Schematic of county Astrodome parking garage plan: Harris County Engineering Dept.

Parking Plan Stop-and-Go

14 Comment

  • good. what a waste of money.

    it needs to be torn down. it has been what? 10 years since it was last used?

  • I think gapa failed at understanding that it was the bill (that would require a vote on the garage overhaul plan) has died. Since that bill died, the County is that much closer to starting work on the remodel – with the Dome intact.
    Ed Emmett must be smiling like Montgomery Burns (“Excellent!” while drumming fingers) in his office right now.

  • What’s an Astrodome?

  • Thank God. Voters are complete brain-dead idiots these days and have no clue, imagination or ability see value in things money can’t buy. Just ask any Putin puppet.


  • Tear it down and finance the tear down against projected tax revenues from the development that replaces it.

  • Exactly, Reporter ….. exactly.

  • Great to see that a specifically tailored bill to torpedo the Astrodome has been shot down. The state politicians should not meddle in local county affairs. Did anyone ever ask Houston and Harris County voters to spend millions upon millions to host another Super Bowl? Or to upgrade Reliant Stadium to please McNair?

    If the county’s financing plan is legitimate (no bonds issued and a referendum not required), let them continue. Harris county voters have already spoken by voting Emmett and others in. They’ll have their chance to vote them out if needed.

    The revitalized Dome could be something special. Why waste a unique structure and a Houston landmark?

  • Demolish it already..

  • What an absolute waste of money. I can only think of about 1,000 better uses for it. How about actually fixing our streets and sidewalks that are comparable to that of a 3rd world country.

  • @Jmat A Third World Country probably doesn’t have sidewalks……

  • From the previous marketing PR in the Chron, it was noted that “These new covered spaces inside the Dome could generate top dollar.” But this is such disastrously bad economics. Why is the MetroRail packed during the Rodeo? Because cheap parking exists in Downtown and elsewhere and you can ride in for $1.50. The County has this Disney-like idea that people will pay $40 for parking as a part of the cost of “having fun”. In Houston, that prices out 99% of the people attending anything in the Astro-complex. The other complete cluster will be actually leaving the Dome which used to have exits in all directions. Now you will be funneled into one or two exits – its going to be a nightmare.

    I don’t really like to be a conspiracy theorist but it just feels like Ed Emmitt has something personally to gain from this transaction. If you could tear it down, you could still build in its place something of extra-ordinary value to Houston, instead of being boxed-in with the Astrodome. You simply cannot beat him off this 100M boondoggle.

    Wouldn’t a 100M be better spent on flood control?

  • Good news. I, like Judge Emmett, Representative Coleman, and many others, think the Dome should be preserved.

  • The highest and best use for this real estate would be in the hands of the private sector. There are huge upfront and ongoing costs for the county to retain ownership with no guarantee that it is self-sufficient in the long run. Additionally, allowing a for-profit entity to purchase/use the property as they see fit will generate property tax revenues which are currently not being collected on this huge chunk of land. Increased property taxes from this real estate help the most initially and long term for all stakeholders: County, City, residents (via potential lower tax rates/increases).

    Politicians need to get out of the way. Local government should not be in the real estate management business and trying to come up with an idea of what they can do with a long-vacant building. Those jobs exist – as real estate developers. We, the people, do not vote you into office so that you can “play real estate.”