Austin Climate Coalition Letter on Opposition to TxDOT’s I-35 Expansion

Dear those interested in the future of I-35,

We write as a youth-led local Austin environmentalist group known as the Austin Climate Coalition (ACCo) in regard to the I-35 Capital Express Central Draft Environmental Impact Statement public comment period. As high schoolers from across the city, we want to express our strong opposition to TxDOT’s plans to expand I-35 due to the negative impacts it would have on our city and the surrounding environment. In an effort to reduce such effects, we would like to see conversations concerning alternatives to expansion, such as Rethink35.

ACCo seeks to advocate for youth voices in the current political atmosphere surrounding climate legislation. From holding Climate Action Days where we invite other high school students to come to write letters to our representatives encouraging the passage of climate-friendly bills to supporting and spreading the natural environment by planting wildflower seeds around Austin, our organization hopes to raise awareness of the climate crisis and its urgency. The current plans to expand the highway go against our idea of a clean future for our generation. Wide, polluting, dangerous highways–specifically one that runs through the center of the city–jeopardize the nature and sustainability of the city that we hoped to inhabit into college and adulthood.

Currently, many of ACCo’s members are seniors in high school that are soon to invest in colleges/higher education. As not just environmentalists, but citizens of the United States, we’ve noticed a pattern in desirable college locations: a city with sufficient public transportation. Cities that implement these systems into their infrastructure become more preferable places to live. We, as the humans of the future, believe it is of the utmost importance that our government listens to our concerns. Austin is a beautiful city full of nature and it would be heartbreaking to watch it disappear.

We hope you understand our worries concerning the environmental impact a highway expansion would impose on our city, and make an effort to address these issues. Until our voices become a part of the conversation, we will continue to make our opinions known and protest the expansion. We believe that, together, we can create a truly transformative future for all.

Thank you for upholding our country’s democracy,
Austin Climate Coalition