Plans for toll road in Pearland?

November 21, 2008 5:35:27 PM PST
The city of Pearland is doing some research to find out what kind of impact a toll road would have in its community. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The Texas Department of Transportation is making initial planning for a 47-mile toll road along State Highway 35 between Harris and Brazoria counties.

So how are local business owners reacting?

Lunchtime at the Busy Bee is focused on serving customers, but step outside and owner Lonnie Hoofard can't help but focus on something else.

"Somebody's going to lose part of their business, I'm sure, during the process," he said.

The Busy Bee sits between the current State Highway 35 and the proposed 35 toll road in Pearland right along the rail lines. If the state builds a toll road in the next decade, it will most likely run right next to his restaurant.

"Either way, during the construction, it will hurt my business in the short term, but in the long term, I think it will help increase my business," he said.

Hoofard is optimistic because he has no other choice. The state's plan to build a toll road aren't firmly in place. So like gas station owner Gene Smirl, no one knows exactly what businesses will be affected or when construction will actually start.

"If the state runs me out, I'm going to go fishing," he joked. "If they don't, I'll be here nine more years."

Commuters we spoke with say they can't wait.

"I'm a contractor, so it gets me around town really quick," said driver Joel Ayala.

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