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Induced Demand: Why Highways Slow Us Down with Megan Kimble

Induced Demand: Why Highways Slow Us Down with Megan Kimble

Author Megan Kimble and I explore the past, present, and future of highways, how they create more traffic problems than they solve, and how "we have not learned any of the lessons" of history

My guest for this week is Megan Kimble. Megan is an extremely talented writer and her new book entitled City Limits: Infrastructure, Inequality, and the Future of America's Highways is a must read for anyone interested in climate change, transportation, or just how cities came to be the way the are: How did we end up with massive, noisy, smelly, dirty highways right in the middle of every major city?

Kimble unpacks an extremely complicated history in a page-turner of a book. She tells the stories of those impacted by highway construction and expansion in the past and in present times, as active expansions in Texas will claim thousands of homes and businesses, and even schools and churches. And she brilliantly explains how none of these expansions will solve traffic problems.

In fact, and this has been proven over and over again as we discussed on this podcast, they’ll make traffic problems worse. 

Megan is Austin-based journalist, author, and editor and the former the executive editor at the Texas Observer and has written about housing, transportation, and urban development for The New York Times, Texas Monthly, The Guardian, and Bloomberg’s CityLab

Her new book covers the battle over the future of highways in Austin, Dallas, and Houston but could describe the battles happening all over the country. She also examines successful highway removals in places like Rochester, New York and successful efforts to stop highways including in Texas. 

We dove into all of that in the interview. We discussed the history of the interstate highway system, including original research Megan did at the Eisenhower Library that showed highways were never meant to go through cities, why the US has such meager public transit infrastructure, the impact of cars and highways on climate change and emissions, and much more. 

Kirkus Reviews called the book “a convincing case for removing highways and shaping cities meant for people, not cars.” Whether you think you agree with that or not, I highly recommend you read the book.

If you like the episode, please don’t forget to recommend, like, and share on Substack, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen. 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thank you for listening and for being a subscriber! Transcript, show notes, and timestamps are below.



4:21 - Megan’s historical approach in City Limits; the Futurama Highways and Horizons exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York

7:11 - Understanding the connection between highways and the energy system

10:12 - Highway expansion, carbon emissions, and air pollution 

12:08 - How and why highway expansion doesn’t work; induced demand

16:32 - History of the interstate highway system

22:35 - Funding for highways versus public transit

27:05 - Inequality and highways 

31:33 - Repeating mistakes of the past and North Houston Highway Improvement Project (aka the I-45 expansion)

34:22 - How the negative effects of highways impact all of us

39:30 - Example of highways being defeated and removed

46:03 - A new vision for cities

48:25 - Groups working to stop and/or remove highways in Texas

51:35 - Book excerpt

55:13 - Electric vehicles


Show Notes

City Limits: Infrastructure, Inequality, and the Future of America’s Highways by Megan Kimble

Megan’s other work and writings

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee 

Texas could spend federal funds meant to cut carbon emissions on highway projects

The Top Ten Biggest Global Warming Polluters in Texas from Environment Texas

Stop TxDOT I-45


Coalition for a New Dallas

Urban Austin Reads Book Club event with Megan at First Light Books in Austin on 5/17

Megan’s Twitter Feed

Leave a comment


Doug Lewin

Megan Kimble, welcome to the Energy Capital Podcast. Thanks for being with us.

Megan Kimble

Thank you for having me.

Doug Lewin

So I love this book, your book is City Limits, Infrastructure, Inequality, and the Future of America's Highways. I really enjoyed reading it and learned a ton from it. 

I think where I wanna start is just with the kind of very complicated relationship Americans have with highways. And I love the way you unpack that and go into the depth of that in this. This is not, as might be suggested by the title, like this, you… you don't simplify this, right? You explore it in all its complexity and Americans, while we hate being on highways, we resent traffic… at the same time, if somebody suggests, I think to somebody who's not sort of read into this and following this in any great depth, if somebody says we should not expand the highway, people get pretty upset about that. They kind of, they, they want their highways. So it's this, it's very much this kind of a love-hate relationship, I think. So you obviously spent a lot of time thinking about highways and our relationships with them and wrote what again, I think it's really a masterful book. 

What do you think now kind of on the other side of this book and all of this research and all of these discussions about highways and our complicated relationships with them?

Megan Kimble

Yeah, I mean, a lot of the book is rooted in history, and I did that very intentionally because I wanted to sort of begin from a place of empathy toward drivers, myself included. So the book kind of begins with the 1939 World's Fair, which had this exhibit called Highways and Horizons. It was sponsored by General Motors, very intentionally to sell cars to the American public. But this industrial designer named Norman Bel Geddes created this exhibit that people could kind of see the city of the future. This was in 1939 and the city of the future was in 1960. And it was like this clean, technologically oriented city with these wide, clean roads and skyscrapers and it was all efficient. 

And I kind of empathize with people who were captivated by that vision. Like the automobile was this miraculous invention. You could go wherever you wanted to go when you wanted to go. Like previous to that, people just simply did not have access to life outside the city. Cities at the time were like pretty crowded, pretty dirty. People's travel was sort of contingent upon transit lines that had fixed routes and fixed schedules. So like the automobile offered this amazing promise to Americans. We live in this vast wide open country and we were finally going to be able to like settle it. We were going to be able to get outside the city, have like an acre to each man and woman, which was Frank Lloyd Wright's vision. And like, I totally understand why that vision was captivating. And so I really wanted to begin in a place of like, it absolutely makes sense that people flock to buy cars, you know, that like, it was this amazing invention. I think beginning there, which is it is understandable that we did what we did. But now, fast forward, you know, nearly a century, 80 years from then… and we know better, we absolutely know better. We know the enormous cost of automobiles and highways to our cities, to our health, to the environment.

And yet we keep doubling down on this form of infrastructure that it has been known really since the 60s and 70s has huge negative externalities in our cities. And so, but I really did wanna begin in this place of like, it's understandable that we built all these highways, but let's reevaluate them now knowing what we know.

Doug Lewin 

Yeah, and I love your description of Bel Geddes’ Futurama, it was called right? It was at the 1939 World's Fair in New York, I think. It's a, it's an amazing description the way you, … I kind of got captivated by the you really did justice to the display and sort of describing it. I felt like I was, I was almost there. I want to, I want to come back to that. Cause you do say towards the end of the book that we need some kind of a new Futurama, but let's come back to that. I do want to talk about that as we go through. But let's kind of work our way through the book a little bit more. This is so this is the Energy Capital Podcast. And, you know, usually I'm talking about the electric grid and topics related to that. But, you know, highways, as you point out in the book, have just obviously a major connection to energy and to climate. Can you talk a little bit about that connection and how changing how we design and plan and build transportation systems could have an impact on energy and climate?

Megan Kimble

Yeah, I love the question because it really motivated a lot of my reporting. So today, transportation is the leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. That changed in about 2016, 2017, it surpassed electric power generation. And that's largely because we are driving more, like it's, it's passenger cars and trucks that are driving that increase in emissions. Um, so I kind of knew that when I started reporting the book and then I discovered this statistic in a TXDOT, you know, report. that Texas on-road emissions are responsible for 0.48%, so about half a percentage of total worldwide carbon dioxide emissions. 

And that absolutely floored me. Like all of us drivers in Texas, all of these highways that we are expanding have a measurable impact on total worldwide carbon emissions. Like think of all the industries across the world, all of the emissions that are being created. And we in Texas, our drivers, have a measurable impact.

And so that really motivated me, which is to say, like, if we don't expand these highways, we could also have an impact on reducing emissions. That there is like, the fight in Texas is incredibly important for the fight to decarbonize and move away from carbon emissions. So that really motivated a lot of the reporting.

Doug Lewin

Yeah. And you have a stat in there that, um, and I believe this was from a TXDOT 2018 report if I'm, if I'm getting this right, um, that by 2040, just the highway widening going on in Texas isn't construction of new highways, but the widening projects going on would increase, um, by, would increase greenhouse gasses by 30 million metric tons. 

And to put that in perspective, Texas, and we can link in the show notes to some charts that people can see this. Number one, emissions in Texas is actually industrial, but, uh, transportation was third for awhile. But as you said, nationally, transportation has gone above, uh, electricity and that's happened in Texas too. Those lines of cross as we've added a lot more, um, well, gas, displacing coal, but also wind and solar, um, has caused those, those emissions to go down. But the, the amount of emissions on the electric grid that have gone down, it might be right at about 30 million metric tons right in there. So it's just like all of the wind and solar and the coal retirements pretty much wiped out by highway expansions. I don't think people really understand the scale of that. If you want to speak more to that, I'd love for you to, but I also, all the other pollution that you got into this in the book too, the asthma and respiratory problems caused by highways. Can you talk about that a little bit too?

Megan Kimble

Yeah, I will just say to your first point, that actually does not come from TsCOT. That comes from the Georgetown Climate Center and Rocky Mountain Institute that have done really great analyses of how highway widenings impact the climate. Because indeed, I do not think this is a thing that like major, like the mainstream of climate, philanthropy or news are talking about as highways as fossil fuel infrastructure, and they absolutely are, and you can measure it. And that report that found that, that stat that you just cited, like they say, the authors say like, minimizing further highway expansion is the most important lever to stopping the increase of carbon emissions in the transportation sector. So like highway expansions are have a huge consequence and a huge impact on greenhouse gas emissions. 

But indeed as you know like as you just mentioned they have other negative impacts besides just greenhouse gas emissions they are incredibly polluting so I include lots of research that shows when you live next to a highway, you have much higher rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases, particularly for children. So the pollution from tires and from exhaust has lots of other negative consequences. The highway expansion in Houston that I profile in the book will bring this massive highway interchange closer to a school, an elementary school called Bruce Elementary in Houston's Fifth Ward.

And students at that school already are exposed to much higher rates of carcinogens and other air pollutants than elsewhere in HISD. And then it's only going to get worse as that highway gets closer. So it's like it's not just our future and climate change. It's like right now people and kids are getting sick from living and going to school next to these highways.

Doug Lewin

Yeah, so there's so many different angles of this to unpack, but I think as it will get into some of the others around cost and traffic fatalities. But I think it's important right at the beginning, though, to just get into how highway expansion actually doesn't work for what it's intended to do. So there's all these “externalities,” which is sometimes the way economists talk about this, like all these other like horrible things that happen like pollution and greenhouse gasses and increased traffic deaths and all those kinds of things. But what it's supposed to do is actually move people faster. And as you put in the in the very first chapter, the hundred largest cities spent $500 billion — they didn't spend it the federal government did — but, but there was that much money spent on the largest cities over, I think it was a period about 20, 25 years from like the mid 90s up until about 2020. And in those cities, traffic congestion increased 144%. 

Now, like some people might say, well, okay, we should have spent a trillion instead of half a trillion. But, but, and you said earlier on, we know that this doesn't work. We know that highway expansion, I think ,forgive me for the slight edit here. The better way to say it is the evidence and the data are there, but collectively we don't know that because we keep expanding highways and expecting we're gonna have less traffic. 

Yeah, can you talk about that a little bit? Because that was something that really stood out in this book. Like I think it's particularly for people that work in this space, it's like that is taken as just sort of, of course this is the way it is, but I think, I'm not sure I fully realized that until I read your book. And I'm a little bit embarrassed to say it, but hey, we're all learning. And so yeah, your book does a good service on that. But talk about that a little bit if you would.

Megan Kimble

Yeah, I mean, I think that's a totally understandable reaction. You're sitting in traffic on a highway and you're like, boy, if this highway was bigger, I would get where I was going faster. And I had a urban planner describe it to me as like, you know, normal people and traffic engineers think of traffic at like a liquid. So if it gets clogged up, build a bigger pipe. And in fact, the evidence shows the traffic functions much more like a gas, which is to say it expands to take up, take up the capacity allotted to it.

And that is a phenomenon known as induced demand. And that has been well understood since at least 1962, when an economist published a paper looking at all these new interstate highways we were building across the country, particularly in cities, and found that as we added car capacity, cars were filling up that capacity. And the reason is that people just drive more. That happens even controlling for population growth. So it's not just that there are new drivers on the road, it's that every driver is driving more.

And so the poster child for the phenomenon called induced demand is the Katy Freeway in Houston. TXDOT about a decade ago, spent $3 billion to expand that to one of the widest highways in the world. It's nearly 26 lanes across, including frontage roads. And five years after they completed that expansion, rush hour traffic was worse. It took longer to get out to the suburb of Katy than it did from before that highway was built. And the basic reason why is like, more people moved to Katy and relied on that highway to get back to Houston to go to their job or school. People took more discretionary trips. They went to the grocery store more frequently. They went to visit their friends in Houston more frequently than they would have perhaps if that highway had not been expanded. So you can like measure the increase in trips taken and vehicle miles traveled when you increase the highway. And so in fact, it does not actually get people where they're going faster.

And that has been shown again and again and again in study after study after study after study, so much so that like, I don't know, in 2011 or something, two economists published a paper called the Fundamental Law of Road Congestion. So this is like a basic tenet that has happened. It is, you can see it replicated in cities across the country, and yet here comes TXDOT, here comes almost every State Department of Transportation promising to fix congestion by widening a highway. And the fundamental question that motivated my reporting is why? Like why are we still promising to fix traffic by widening highways?

Doug Lewin 

And that fundamental law is that if you expand the highway, you will fill it up with traffic and you'll end up worse than you were before, right? That is basically the fundamental law. 

Megan Kimble


Doug Lewin

And that's, that's 13 years ago. Yeah, and the evidence is so overwhelming. And again, you lay it out well, I want to go back into some of the history because this is, this is one of my favorite things about the book is, is the history that you present here because you know, how did we get here? How did, how did all this happen? Right. 

And, and the interstate highway system, I think most people know, goes back to Eisenhower, but I don't think many people know. And frankly, I think you were doing some original research on this, right, and maybe discovered it and have kind of put this out there for the first time. Can you talk a little bit about some of what you found at the Presidential Library, I believe, in Kansas, the Eisenhower Library, and some of the discussions that were going on within the Eisenhower administration about what highways were for and what they weren't for vis-a-vis America's urban centers?

Megan Kimble

Yeah, I drove up to Abilene, Kansas, like sort of on a hunch that I would find some documentation around the implementation of the interstate highway program. And indeed found like a very rich history. And there was a pretty rigorous fight in the 1960s about what interstate highways were for. 

So President Eisenhower sold the interstate highway program to Congress as a national defense program. You know, it was the Cold War. And he was worried about people being able to evacuate cities in the case of nuclear attack, being able to move arms and munitions across the country, facilitating trade between cities. So it was very much sold as a way to connect the country. We have this massive country, we need to connect cities to each other, allow people to get out of cities. So Congress passes the Interstate Highway Program, it's a $25 billion Public Works Project, the largest attempted in American history. And that money flows essentially directly to states with almost no strings attached.

So the kind of unique thing about the Interstate Highway Act is that the federal government agreed to pay 90% of the cost of construction of interstate highways. Because again, it was supposed to serve the national interest of connecting cities across the country. Well, that funding flows to states and what states start doing is using that money to build urban highways because cars were kind of flooding city streets, you know, we talked about highways and horizons, like people went out and bought cars, so car registrations went up, you know, from something like from something like 500,000 in the early 1900s to 25 million two decades later. So there were so many cars on city streets and so city and state planners were like, hey we need to build big roads to accommodate these cars.

So the cost of the Interstate Highway Program was running significantly over budget by 1960. It was running about $11 billion over budget for a $25 billion program. And the federal government was on the hook for that over expense. So Eisenhower asked this guy John Bragdon to kind of look into the Interstate Highway Program, like how was it being implemented and why was it running over budget? So Bragdon looks into it and he produces this report. He asked Congress to look into like, hey, did you guys really want cities to be building highways right through the middle of their cores, or did you want this money to be spent connecting cities? Congress was like, yeah, this is actually not for urban highways. The intent of the program was to connect the country to serve a national interest. So, Bragdon produces this report, it's called the Interim Report, and he presents it to Eisenhower and other kind of higher ups of the Bureau of Public Roads, the Department of Commerce, in the spring of 1960.

And I found the text of that presentation in the Eisenhower Library, like his literal note cards or like handwritten notes on them. And it's an incredible presentation. I mean, the interim report itself is an incredible document and then, you know, he kind of distills that to, Bragdon distills that to present to Eisenhower. And he is very clear. One, the National Highway Program was to serve a national interest and to build highways between cities, not through cities. Congress is clear on that. Number two all the experts say that the way to solve urban congestion is to build transit systems. Like this guy is a Republican, he's an engineer, this is not like a political statement, this is pure geometry, like it's easier to move people in buses and trains than it is in a car. It's much more efficient use of space in a crowded city. And that cities were actually using federal money to tear up transit systems and build roads in their place so that most transit systems, rail lines, trolley lines across the country were being demolished and replaced with road infrastructure. And, Brandon tells Eisenhower, you need to direct the Bureau of Public Roads to tell states to do something different, to not use our federal money to solve this newly created problem of urban congestion, but rather to focus resources on connecting the country. 

It's like an incredible presentation. I mean, it resonates today with a lot of what kind of transit activists are saying today in 2024. 

So he presents it to Eisenhower and Eisenhower's response is captured a few days later in this memorandum of the meeting and he says, you know, the matter of running interstate routes through the congested part of cities was against his wishes for the program and those who had implemented it so had done so against his wishes and desires. And so I had,  I kind of knew that memo and I was kind of like well why didn't he move? This was against his wishes?

Well, his secretary has a note in her diary after the meeting that people were in for a meeting on the roads program and they think it would be murder to move in an election year. So it's an election year, it's a presidential election. Money has been committed to states and Eisenhower says something to the effect of the states would rise up in arms if we reversed course on this program, if we took back money or gave them stronger parameters for what they could spend it on. So nothing was done. Bragdon's report was shelved. I don't think it was ever released. And nothing changed.

But to me that was, it really, I think it anchored the book because it wasn't supposed to be this way. The interstate highway system was not intended to build all these urban highways. People back in 1960 knew that, high up people, Eisenhower knew that, and yet. There was this inertia that was hard to stop. So nothing happened.

Doug Lewin

And you found that diary entry as well from, uh, that's amazing. That's amazing. Um, yeah, that's a, that, that is, that is so neat to think that, you know, there's, there's a history like that to be discovered and you, and you found some of it, so this history is, is truly fascinating. So, um, at that time, so you're, you're in the, in, in the late fifties and early sixties, and am I right that at that time, I think I remember from the book you presented that the, are the the federal government's paying 90%, right? And on other projects, if you wanted to build transit, you're getting what? If you wanted to like build more trains in your city, or you're not getting 90% from the federal government, right?

Megan Kimble

Yeah, you're not getting much of anything. The federal government had like dedicated transit funds. I don't recall exactly how much they were, but they were an absolute fraction, you know, pennies on the dollar of what was spent on the highway program. 

So like, for example, San Francisco, in San Francisco, citizens revolted after the Embarcadero Freeway was built. And they said, hey, we do not want any more freeways in our cities. In our city, there was like a popular protest. And as a result of San Francisco Board of Supervisors, like canceled this massive freeway and to build BART, which we all probably have heard of, the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, they had to raise, they had to tax their own citizens locally to pay for that. So they had to forego federal highway money and raise money locally to build a transit system.

Doug Lewin

Yeah, I, you know, again, as I said earlier, like I work a lot on electric grid type issues and there's, um, you know, uh, monopoly utilities, the poles and wires companies. And, um, I was talking to a colleague yesterday. She, she read me this quote. Um, if you show me the incentive, I'll show, I'll tell you the outcome. Right. So like in, in the electric, you know, utility industry, there's, that means certain things they're going to spend capital cause utilities get a guaranteed rate of return.

Obviously in this case, if you've got the federal government to pay 90% or you want to go a different way and you've got to tax your citizens to pay for it, this really reveals like if you've ever wondered why are there highways in the middle of our damn cities? That doesn't make any sense. Like literally right there, all this traffic running by the buildings where there should be sidewalks and people walking around, this is why. Because it's this legacy of the 1950s and frankly, a little bit of an accident. It kind of happened because the locals were like, this is really expensive, we can get the feds to pay for it. And now we'll be drawing traffic into our cities, I guess, was their thinking. It was paid for, and it would bring people into the cities. But of course, really, the interstates, I don't know if you know any stats on like how many people are like if you're on I-35, you know, going through Austin, not that many people on I-35 are getting off in Austin, a lot of them are going, you know, somewhere between here and Duluth, or between here and South Texas or something, right?

Megan Kimble

Yeah, I mean, these highways were sold as a way to like resurrect struggling downtowns, they were going to bring people back to the central business district. I spent a lot of time in newspaper archives and it was interesting to see how planners were kind of framing these highways initially is like they were going to bring economic prosperity. 

And so I think again, it's like understandable that people were compelled by that vision. It was like very, it was sold. It was sold as a vision of prosperity that like being able to drive to the central business district and then go home to the suburb was like a way to build the American dream.

So most highways are paid for through the Highway Trust Fund and that was created when the Interstate Highway Program was enabled, and that funnels gas tax. So every time you and I buy a gallon of gas, there's a tax on gasoline, and that is funneled directly into the Highway Trust Fund, and that was used to pay for the interstate highway system. And so it was a sort of like user-generated financing system. Eisenhower wanted it to be kind of self-sustaining. 

Well, in the 1980s, there was this fight to allow money from the Highway Trust Fund to be spent on transit systems, because again, it was just like transit was sort of funded kind of off to the side and like occasional appropriations by Congress. And so under Reagan, actually, Congress raised the gas tax and opened up the Highway Trust Fund to transit, dedicating a penny of the five cent increase to transit systems. So that ratio of 80% of federal funding goes to highways, 20% goes to transit, remains today. So we are spending as federally four times as much money on highways as we are on trains. No wonder we don't have very good transit in most American cities.

Doug Lewin

Yeah. And you chronicle in the book really well, some of the fights to, to change that and how frustrating and, and stubborn, um, Congress has been on, on that, uh, issue. 

I want to dive into, so again, you know, your, your subtitle is infrastructure, inequality, and the future of America's highways. I want to dive into the inequality piece of this, cause at the time, the highways were, were really, it's sort of the peak of that um, highway building period, late fifties, early to mid sixties. There is no Civil Rights Act. There is no Voting Rights Act yet. 

So just about, you know, every highway, including the ones you focus on in City Limits. But this is, while this book is about three highways in Texas, this story is true across the country. I was just in New Orleans recently, and was at some of the museums and was seeing pictures of I-10, the same highway that went right through the Fifth Ward of Houston took out huge parts of Treme, a historically Black neighborhood. But again, so you could, you could take almost any city in America and the story is going to be unique because all those communities are unique. And the story's also kind of the same because the route is always going right through Black and Brown neighborhoods who basically at that time have no political power. 

So you've got inequality in the title. Can you talk a little bit more about that history and how that legacy manifests today? And the stories of the people you have in the book. You do such a great job, not only with the history and the memos from the Eisenhower Library, but the people. Maybe this would be a good time to bring in the story of either, I don't know how to pronounce her name, Onari Berluson, or somebody similarly situated.

Megan Kimble

Yeah, yeah. So right, as you mentioned, it's very clear in the historical record that these highways were intentionally routed through black and Hispanic neighborhoods, neighborhoods that had been redlined a decade earlier by the federal government. And redlining means just simply because neighborhoods had black and Hispanic populations, they were denied access to credit and federally backed mortgages.

So Houston's Fifth Ward is one such example. I talked to this woman, Onari Goodrie, whose family was displaced when I-10 was built through that neighborhood. It's a historically Black neighborhood. People walked everywhere they needed to go. It was like a self-contained community. Lyons Avenue was this cultural and commercial heart of the neighborhood that she and her mom would walk up to do all their shopping. Her dad worked at the downtown post office. He was one of the first Black people employed by the US Postal Service in Houston. He walked to work.

But when she was in middle school, she sort of started hearing rumors about a highway coming through her community. And then one day her parents got a letter in the mail saying, hey, the Texas Highway Department needs the land that your home sits on. And you know, you have six months to move. 

And as you said, this was before the Fair Housing Act passed. Like a lot of neighborhoods were not open to Black families. And so they moved along with many displaced families in the Fifth Ward to Kashmere Gardens, which is north of the Fifth Ward. And she though was like, so she was in, I think, going into high school when this happened. And she remembers how distraught everyone in her family was. They lived in this contained community where they knew everyone, they could walk to access everything they needed, and suddenly they were displaced like three miles from their neighborhood. So her dad had to buy a car to get to work, and she was determined to graduate from Phillis Wheatley High School, which is this very renowned black high school in Houston. So she walked to school every day. She walked three miles to school, one way, three miles home.

And so like that highway construction had this hugely disruptive impact on that community. It's not just that it took out three full city blocks demolishing about 1200 structures. It also split the community in half. So  Onari remembers having to walk over this massive trench, which is what the highway became on these like really narrow pedestrian bridges. Like bullies would kind of corner you in them. They became really dangerous, not just because of cars, but because of, you know, people in the neighborhood who took advantage of them. And the kind of area south of the highway became known as the bottom. It was like really very much separated from the kind of part of Fifth Ward through that highway. 

So, you know, I talked to lots of people like Onari who remember when that highway came through and how profoundly disruptive it was to the Fifth Ward. And like, you know, as a result, people like left the Fifth Ward. Families wanted to be, you know, as the Fair Housing Act passed and as neighborhoods opened up to black families, people simply left. So that neighborhood like really emptied out. And it doesn't have the same kind of vibrancy of people on the street, people you know walking around today as it did before that highway came in.

Doug Lewin

And it's just stunning to hear this and to think of all that was lost. And then to fast forward to 2024 and it's still happening. We not only like haven't learned the lessons, we're actually repeating the same mistakes over again. So you, you also chronicle, um, you know, a number of people and homes and, and even an apartment, right? The ballpark, the lofts at the ballpark, like we're, we're in a bit of a housing crisis in Texas right now, and they're taking down whole apartments, removing, what is it, something like 1,000 homes for the I-45 expansion alone. It's just kind of stunning to think that these things are still happening in 2024.

Megan Kimble

Yeah, we have not learned any of the lessons of the 1960s. So what you're referring to is this massive highway expansion called the North Houston Highway Improvement Project, people in Houston call it the I-45 expansion. But it actually impacts the entire downtown loop, including I-10, which goes through the Fifth Ward, I-45, I-69. And it will demolish, yeah, 1,200 structures. And TechStat's own analysis of the project says the impacts will be predominantly borne by low-income and minority populations. 

So, indeed, we are repeating the mistakes of the past. One of the people who were impacted by that highway expansion is this Black woman named Modesty Cooper. And her house is literally like two blocks from where Onari's house was. I mean, Onari's home. Like she took me over to kind of show me where her house was. And I was like, I don't understand. Where was it? She's like, where the cars are, Megan. Like literally where the cars are streaming, that's where I grew up. Like two blocks from there, Modesti lives. She's this woman. She built her like a home, a brand new house from the ground up. She bought like a vacant parcel of land and designed a home and hired a construction crew and, you know, built this home for herself. And then one day in 2019, she gets a letter, again, from the Texas Department of Transportation saying, hey, we need to land your home sits on. And in both instances, you know, those homeowners, Onari and Modesti really have no recourse. The authority of and the only thing they can do is try to get a better price for their home. 

But what Modesti did, because she knew that other people like herself were impacted by this project, is she filed a civil rights complaint with the federal government alleging that the project violated Title VI and then it disproportionately impacted Black and Hispanic people, which is illegal. And so the federal government in 2021 actually paused the project and said, hey, we need to investigate these serious civil rights concerns raised by people like Modesti. And that was like a totally unprecedented move.

Doug Lewin

Yeah, it was a bit of a shock. I remember when it happened. I was just kind of like, wait, what? That, that never happens.

Megan Kimble

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Doug Lewin

So this, this brings me to something I think is a really important point that, and it's forgive me, it'll take a little while to describe it, but, but bear with me. So there's this great book sitting behind me right now. This, uh, Heather McGhee's book, The Sum of Us, and I bring, I've brought this book up and other podcasts too. I think the thesis of it is so powerful, which is, you know, there's basically this kind of, um, usually, not always, but usually unconscious thing humans do where we, you know, other a group of people. Sometimes it's very conscious and quite intentional. But I think a lot of the times it's just like, we as humans, we've evolved to kind of identify with a certain group, I'm part of this group, these people are part of another group. And so we think, I think a lot of people hear of these things and they're like, oh, that's too bad. But that's not my problem, that's their problem. Or that person's problem or that community's problem.

But that's actually not true, right? We all suffer from this, right? We all are then gonna be caught on those highways. With congestion, our air pollution is going to be worse, right? It's obviously particularly acute for the school you described in the Fifth Ward, but other schools even a mile or two away from the highway, pollution's going to get worse there too.

And so, you know, you get into this in the book too, that the average family in Houston, and this is not, unless I read it wrong, this isn't low income families, the average family in Houston spends 20% of their income on transportation. So I think sometimes in these conversations, people are thinking, well, that sucks for the people that live by the highway. It actually sucks for all of us.

And then the inverse is true. If we can figure out a better way to move people and to have a better transportation system that just works better for people. That's kind of Heather McGee's thing in The Sum of Us. She uses the example in the 1950s and 60s as the desegregation order started to come. A lot of communities that had built great big swimming pools would just fill in the swimming pools rather than have them integrated. It's this very visceral example of a way that we're all hurt by this inequality. And I think highways are a really tangible example of that as well, right?

Megan Kimble

Yeah, I mean, I love the Sum of Us. I'm glad you brought it up. Absolutely. Like, it's not just the people who live adjacent to these highways, the Black and Hispanic communities that have to suffer through air pollution and noise and traffic violence. It's all of us. Like, you know, 40,000 people die every year in their cars. 5,000 people die in Texas every year because of traffic violence. Like, that's an enormous impact that we have all just sort of accepted as this background noise to our life.

I grew up in LA and I was very acutely aware because of my dad scaring me straight: the thing most likely to kill me was my car. It is an incredibly dangerous form of travel, particularly how we've built our cities that people just need to rely on cars to get everywhere they need to go. 

This book actually, I wrote a story for the Texas Observer where I used to work. And that's kind of launched a lot of the reporting for the book. And for that story, I talked to this woman, you know, like a middle-class woman who really wanted to buy a home and the only place she could do so was like in Round Rock outside of Austin. And that meant that she had to commute on I-35 to get where she was going, get back to her job. And she got in a terrible car accident one day on her way to work. And she was out of work for a year. She had this terrible concussion and she's still traumatized. Like she still is very scared to drive. It gives her a lot of anxiety. But guess what? Her job hasn't moved and neither has her home, and so she still drives to work every day. So there's a kind of real trauma around car dependency for a lot of people. 

But also, as you say, it's extremely expensive. It is a really expensive way to get around. Indeed, you're right, that in Houston, the median family spends 20% of their income on transportation, which means that Houston, which is sort of often touted as this really affordable place to live, on average when you combine housing and transportation is just as expensive to live in as New York City. Housing is really expensive, but most people can get around using transit, which is much more affordable. So, like car dependency impacts all of us. Like one reason I wrote this book is I moved to Austin from Tucson where I biked most places I needed to go and I moved here and I ended up driving two or three hours a day to work, to various places I was reporting. And I was like, this sucks. Like, I don't want to live like this. It's really impacting my quality of life to have to drive everywhere I need to go. 

So, so indeed like car dependency has, I think the highest negative impacts for low income populations because travel by car is very expensive. And so as we build cities for car dependency, we are, um, I think in increasingly burdening low income people, but we're burdening all of us through air pollution, through climate change. Um, like through quality of life, sitting in rush hour every day. Like these are, like car dependency is something that like impacts everyone.

Doug Lewin

So there have been examples in history, quite a few, where highways have been defeated. I love that you bring Robert Caro's, The Power Broker about Robert Moses, and obviously he built a lot of highways, but the one through was at Washington Square Park… he was trying to build a highway through, which is like crazy to think about. 

But it's not just New York City. Apparently in Austin, I didn't realize this history, the Highway Department had wanted to put a highway right along Lake Austin. So next time you're driving on, I guess it would be Cesar Chavez. I don't know if it's on the other side, but I assume it's Cesar Chavez. That could have been an interstate highway, but for citizens at Austin who organized and said, no, we don't want a highway around our lake. So can you talk about our river? We call it Lake Austin. It's really a river. 

But can you talk a little bit about some of the historical examples of where highways were defeated and where highways have been removed? And then some of the movements that are active right now in Texas to try to either remove highways or stop expansions.

Megan Kimble

Yeah, I mean, there was a massive freeway revolt in the 1960s as all these highways that we talked about earlier, their planners sort of conjured using all this new federal money. They drew these lines on maps. And people saw them, and they said no. And in part because they watched as these highways were built through their neighborhoods and communities and kind of saw the air pollution, the noise, how divisive they were, how they split apart neighborhoods.

And like tens of thousands of people in cities across the country turned out and revolted. So like in Baltimore, a biracial coalition stopped a massive highway expansion that would have demolished something like 28,000 housing units, like an absolute massive highway. Washington DC had a really robust movement. We talked about San Francisco. So like in almost every city, Austin is not alone. Citizens absolutely revolted and erased highway lines from maps before they could be built.

And I think part of the power of that movement is that people knew something else. These highways were new to them, and they saw the kind of devastation they wrought, and they said, no, I don't want anymore. And the challenge today is most of us, myself included, have only grown up in cities with highways. I've never lived anywhere that was not wrapped in highways. I've never known an Austin without a massive interstate through the middle of it. It's really hard to imagine anything else.

But I think one, so in the book, I go to Rochester, New York, which is a city that has recently removed its inner loop highway, which circles the downtown. And I wanted to do that because it really makes visible that another world is possible. These are just construction projects. We can construct something else. So the city of Rochester in 2017 got a federal grant to fill in its inner loop highway, which is like a sunken highway that circles downtown. And so they did about half of it. It's called the Inner Loop East Project, and they brought it up to grade. And they filled in that land and they made this like two lane city street with a bike lane and a big sidewalk and trees. And on the surplus land that was left over from the highway, they built housing. So there's now you can go to Rochester and walk along Union Street and see like three and four story apartment complexes. A lot of them are rented at affordable rates to low income families. And it's this like really remarkable transformation of the city that like, you can be walking on in a neighborhood and just like come to this… It just makes it more contiguous. It's really remarkable to see. And what is also really compelling is they have not yet finished removing that inner loop. They're working on the next section of it right now. But you can go to Rochester and see the contrast. You can go see the inner loop north, which just remains a big sunken highway, and walk a block south and see reclaimed land with people living on it.

So Rochester is not the only city that has done that. Milwaukee has done it, San Francisco, Portland. You mentioned Robert Moses. The first elevated highway in the US is the West Side Highway in Manhattan, built under the watchful gaze of Robert Moses. Well, in the 1970s, that highway suffered, like a concrete trunk fell through it or ran into it. I can't exactly remember. But it got irreparably damaged and city leaders ultimately decided to tear it down and now it's just a city street.

And in a lot of these examples, people in those cities were worried there would be like carpocalypse, like terrible traffic congestion, paralyzing traffic congestion if we remove that highway. And what happened in city after city that has removed highways is that traffic evaporated. Like just as induced demand is a phenomenon, which is to say you can induce more car travel by building more roads, you can also reduce travel by reducing the number of roads available to people. So, that's happened in San Francisco when the Embarcadero came down is that traffic volumes measurably decreased. People just drove less. And that is true in every city that has removed a highway.

Doug Lewin

Which is why it's so crazy that TXDOT will put out numbers about like the I-35 expansion here in Austin, where, which you cited the book that they say something like, if they don't build the project within a certain number of years, it will take, what was it like four hours to get from Kyle or Buda to Austin? And it's like, of course it won't take four hours. Nobody would take four hours. They would find a different way.

Megan Kimble

Oh, that stat drives me nuts. And it, like, it speaks to the fact that, like, I feel like TXDOT assumes no one's going to read their environmental impact statements, but, like, they have it. It's not even Kyle. It's, they say it will take, so the I-35 central expansion, it goes from South Austin to North Austin, sort of like Ben White Boulevard to, um, to 290 in the North. It's an eight mile stretch of highway. They say if we don't expand this highway by 2045, that will take three and a half hours to travel.

Doug Lewin

As if somebody, yeah…

Megan Kimble

Like you just can think about that for a minute as if somebody would do that. I'm like reasonably fit. Most people can walk eight miles in three and a half hours. No one is gonna sit in their car to take that trip. They either won't go or they will go by a different mode. And yet that is just like presented as this incontrovertible fact. It's like science, it's engineering. And it's not, it's made up.

Doug Lewin

What's the closest to, so we started this conversation by talking about, or you started this conversation by talking about Futurama and the display at the World's Fair in 1939, which again, I really encourage people to read the book, your description of it. You really feel like you're there and you can see it. And it is a compelling vision. These wide streets, freedom of movement. It's all very romantic and appealing. And I think you say in the book, we need a different vision.

Have you, like what's the closest you've seen to that, to somebody articulating a different vision? And not just, I should say not even articulating, like I really think there's something to actually seeing it. That was the power of Futurama, right? Was people could actually, they didn't have to visualize it, they could see it. Has anybody done anything like that where people can really get an image of what a different way would look like?

Megan Kimble

I haven't really seen it. I mean, that's why I think highway removal is so compelling. That's why I went to Rochester twice is to like, that is the vision to me is like, we can erase these structures and build housing and let people live closer to where they are going. So anytime I've seen kind of renderings of that or like visions for how do you like, how do you make I-35 Boulevard and put housing next to it? I think that's really compelling. 

I also think COVID offered a pretty compelling vision. Our highways were empty for months as we were all quarantined at home and people reclaimed city streets. All these outdoor cafes sprouted on sidewalks. And it just speaks to, all of this has become so politicized, but it is a fundamental human truth that we like to be around each other. And highways make that impossible. The way we have built our suburbs make that impossible. And I think COVID really revealed like how desperately we wanna just be in conversation with each other when that was taken away from us. And so like seeing the massive empty freeways that kind of thread through our cities as we all stayed at home, I think for me, certainly revealed like what a waste of space this is.

But yeah, to answer your question, like I actually have not seen… I haven't seen a modern Futurama for the highway removal movement and I think that is like the thing that, yeah I would love to see that. I haven't seen it.

Doug Lewin

Yeah, and I haven't either as well as the question, because I think, I think it is really important. And I, you do say towards the end of the book, like we should, we should, I'm quoting from the book. We should tear down urban highways, but how we tear them down also matters. Right. So like, I wonder if that Futurama, like it was one person in 1939, but if the, the folks that are involved in this movement actually can't get together and start to build some of these models of this is what it would look like if we didn't have that, including, here's other ways to get to the city, right? It's not like a highway. You can have highways, other places that lead up to the cities going back to that original Eisenhower vision, right? I wonder… there are, well, you talked just for just a couple minutes about the different groups working in the three different cities you have. You've mentioned them a few times, but the I-45, the I-35 coalitions, the one in Dallas as well.

Megan Kimble

Yeah, so in Houston, there's this group called Stop TxDOT I-45. And they began literally by like people who heard about the I-45 expansion and were appalled and just like kind of printed some yard signs and started talking to people in their own neighborhood of like, hey, do you want this expansion? No, I don't either. 

And so it became this like pretty robust grassroots group. They went, they've gone door to door in neighborhoods across Houston and highway and neighborhoods adjacent to the highway expansion to let people know that it's happening, to let people know what their rights are, how they can get involved. And so they have really mobilized, I think like a pretty robust, again opposition to the I-45 expansion. And again, like I've gone door to door with them. A lot of people didn't know the highway expansion was happening, like people who were right in the footprint of it, people who might even lose their homes, didn't know it was coming and didn't know what their rights were within relation to TxDOT.

So that's the group in Houston. There's a group in Austin called Rethink35. It was founded by this guy, Adam Greenfield. And their vision is to not, you know, oppose the I-35 expansion and their kind of vision is to turn I-35 into a Boulevard right in the middle of the city. I-35 used to be East Avenue, this like wide Boulevard with a big grassy median. And the idea is like, bring that back, you know, build bus rapid transit or something, some other form of transit along the I-35 corridor, reclaim that land for housing and people, and reroute all the interstate traffic that is currently coming right through the heart of Austin, around Austin on State Highway 130, which is a toll road that swings to the far eastern edge of downtown.

Doug Lewin

And it's vastly underutilized by the way, like anytime you're on 130, there's like, there's no one there. Uh, not no one, but it's, basically…

Megan Kimble

It is vastly underutilized. Lots of capacity could be added to that highway. And then in Dallas, there's a group that began as Coalition for a New Dallas, founded by an urban planner named Patrick Kennedy. And he basically kind of on his own, he and a friend, presented this vision of I-345 as an elevated highway that bounds the eastern edge of downtown Dallas.

And it's, you know, it like is a really big sprawling highway. There's like this mess of lanes and it's just surrounded by like surface parking and public storage, like this is right in the heart of downtown Dallas. It's all this land that could be put to better use. And so he basically poses this question to the city of Dallas, like what if we got rid of it? What could we do with that land instead? And he found that, you know, the land, the highway impacts something like 350 acres of land, which could hold 25,000 housing units, lots of offices or parks or community spaces. And he actually got TxDOT to study removal as a formal project alternative. So those are the kind of the three grassroots groups that are like kind of form the backbone of the book.

Doug Lewin

It's really remarkable how much progress each of those groups have made. Just the, it is, this is so incredibly difficult because of that inertia again, which you described here and in the book. I actually just want to read one part of it. I just want to give the listeners just a flavor of your writing, which I think is just so it really is great. And this is there's a lot of them. I hope you're not like - I hope you liked the one I picked. I there there's so many great examples. You really do a great job painting the picture here, but this is, um, uh, sort of towards the end of the book, not right at the end, but towards the end of the book: 

“A highway is a hard thing to perceive. The physical structure is indisputable concrete and beams, struts and supports. The persistent rumble. On a city map, a highway is a contour line defining the shape of a place. This here is the edge of downtown. It is the artery that circulates energy, the skin that communicates an edge. But highways aren't designed to be experienced or absorbed at human scale. On a highway, we are our cars, contained in the hum and clack of suspended rubber wheels, speeding so fast that we can't absorb anything except paint on pavement and the giant green signs that announce where we are going. But highways are similarly hard to see outside our cars. The structures defy human scale. Overpasses soaring 125 feet above ground, the height of a 12 story building. A highway is a wall of noise, so loud it dulls every other sense. You can't ever see a whole highway. You can only pause above or below and consider some part of it. And once a highway is built, it is almost impossible to imagine it gone. For most of us, highways simply are. The essential shape of the built environment, never to be unbuilt. But cities have always been layered places, colonized and disputed and reclaimed. It's all just construction.” 

It's really striking. I love the writing. Again, there's a lot of other parts I could have picked, but will you talk a little bit about that and why you wrote that particular passage?

Megan Kimble

Oh man, I love that you just read that. That was really very cool to hear. Um, I wrote that passage actually really early on before I had even sold the book. I went to see the high five interchange in Dallas, which is the first, like five level interchange built in the US. And just was like on this, like little pedestrian trail, like marveling at this structure above me. 

And yeah, I mean, in reporting this book, I spent a lot of time contemplating highways, you know, looking at them, examining them in a way that I think I had never done before. And most people probably don't do, you just drive on them. They just are. And I really wanted to capture the sense of possibility that like, these are not inevitable parts of the urban landscape. Like you just read, like these are policy choices. They're not mountains, they do not, they're not natural features. And that we can, we can do something different.

Um, and like, yeah, like I just wanted to have readers start to look at these structures, particularly in Texas where they are so massively outsized. They are just like huge pieces of architecture, just like right in the middle of our cities. Like let's look at them. Let's think about, do we want this? Um, so yeah, thanks for reading that. But I actually like went to the high five and like came home and just like wrote that as just this kind of standalone contemplation of highways and then it, you know, I found a place.

Doug Lewin

Yeah, it really stood out to me. It's really, really well done. And look, the whole book is, is well written. Um, I hope folks will read it. Is there anything I should have asked you that I didn't, anything else you want to say?

Megan Kimble

Well I don’t know if you want to talk about electric vehicles since this is like a podcast that mostly talks about the grid.

Doug Lewin

Sure, of course I do. Thank you. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell us what you want to say about electric vehicles. I was struck by that part where you said, yeah, electric vehicles can help reduce emissions, but… So yeah, let's talk about that.

Megan Kimble

I mean, that's the argument TxDOT makes. That's the argument a lot of people make is like, well, electric vehicles are coming so like that will save us. Like electric vehicles will reduce emissions. So we can just have these highways and drive as much as we wanna drive because EVs are coming, right? But I think the like thing that I learned is like one, they're absolutely not coming quick enough. Like the fleet turnover time is a real bottleneck to decarbonization. So like most, I think it's something like 8% of the cars on the road today are EVs.

And they like, and also, well, like the more we drive, the more power we need to fuel these EVs. And as we are transitioning the grid to renewable energy, like it just puts more pressure on that effort on the grid. And as you know, as your listeners know in Texas, like our grid is not doing great, you know, like it needs some help. You know, that's my layman's interpretation of what happened. 

Doug Lewin

It needs some help. You're not wrong, yes.

Megan Kimble

Yeah, so I think the idea that we can all just keep driving as much as we want, as long as we're in an electric vehicle, is like a real false promise. Like in order to reach like carbon goals that have been set by the US, but then have been committed to by the US, like we can't, we just simply cannot drive as much as we're driving, that like every extra mile we add to our commutes puts more pressure on electrification and the transition of the grid.  And so, I feel like this is the place to talk about EVs and haven’t gotten to talk about them on my tour.

Doug Lewin

Yeah, so a couple of thoughts on this. So one, I do think there is a lot of potential to decarbonize with electric vehicles. And I do think the piece with the grid that's so important, Megan, is that we have to charge the cars at the right time. So if everybody gets home from work, they're driving on these great big highways and sitting there for an hour and frustrated and whatever. And then they get home and they plug in their car. If everybody is charging at the same time, we're going to have further problems on the grid. If there is those smart charging infrastructure, right? You have to have a, a charger that has some software in it that basically has a signal from the grid and, and you plug in and it's going to charge the car when there's an abundance of energy, not right after the sun goes down. That might be when you get home. If there's a lot of solar power, it might be overnight when there's a lot of wind power. So that kind of thing is really important.

And I think actually has the ability to potentially strengthen the grid if it's done right, which that if it’s done right, is doing a lot of work there, right? There's a lot that has to happen policy-wise for that to go into place.

To me though, the bigger thing is, and I talk about this a lot with people, I obviously work on this a lot, and decarbonization is a massive goal. It is not the only goal. We need to decarbonize in a way that actually makes people's lives better. Right? This is, we, we live in a world where, you know, already 40 to 45% of people can't afford their power bills. Some of that is because of all the transportation costs. Um, but then, you know, you, you talk about in the book, we talked about earlier in this conversation, 40,000 people dying on highways every year. That's not acceptable. That's not, that should not be something we just like shrug our shoulders at. And like that 40,000, I mean, if 40,000 people were dying of anything else that was preventable, I would think we'd prevent it. But somehow we've all just decided like this, this is a bargain we're willing to make.

And then all the lost time, all the expense that goes into driving all, all of those different factors are still there. If the only thing we do is go from gas powered cars to electric cars. We will have some, again, integrated with the grid in the right way. We'd have some less carbon emissions.

But I just don't think we want to continue that Faustian bargain of road rage and traffic death and lost time and all of that. So, so it really, I think the, the issue that we want to focus at least I want to focus on is multimodal electrification. Like how we need more electric buses and electric trains. Um, and to rethink highways overall and all, all that. I mean, I think all of that comes into it.

Megan Kimble

Yeah, yeah, I love that perspective. I mean, I just have heard from folks that's like, well, like electric vehicles are the solution, we can just kind of keep continuing to build our cities as we've been building them based in sprawling on car dependency. And it's like, there are all these negative externalities. And like, it's just simply not coming quick enough that we really have to kind of rethink how we have structured our cities to make this transition easier, to facilitate its arrival.

Doug Lewin

Yeah, and making sure we're also not perpetuating the inequalities that have existed all, you know, all these problems with highway expansion. If we, again, if all we do is go from gas power cars to electric vehicles, and we're just going to continue expanding highways forever, even if, and you're right to raise the question, like we're not sure emissions would go down because, because of grid impact. I think they probably would, but even if they did we don't want to continue to separate neighborhoods and take people's homes. And we didn't even talk about the school in Austin that's being taken out. Like they, these, these are outcomes that are, that are not acceptable. So yeah, I think you're absolutely right. The basic, the overall thesis you're laying out there that electric vehicles are not a panacea is absolutely correct. Yeah. 

Megan Kimble


Doug Lewin

So the book is City Limits people can find it wherever books are sold. I just happened to be yesterday trying to do more writing myself and I went to write at a, at a brewery where sometimes I write, don't judge me. And somebody was sitting there with your book on the table, so it's getting out there. And he said there's a, I think it's Austin Urban Books or something, a book club, and they're gonna be reading it. So folks, can you just tell folks where they can find you, your website, your Twitter handle, and if there's any book clubs people can join or things like that to read your book.

Megan Kimble

Yeah, if you're here in Austin, there's a book club called Urban Austin Reads, and my book is the selection right now, so you can join the book club. It's at First Light Books in Hyde Park every Friday, and I will be doing an event there on May 17th, so folks can come out to that in Austin. And then you can find me online, just my name, Megan Kimble. So my website is I'm on Twitter or X, whatever we're calling it these days, at Megan Kimble. Instagram, you can just Google me. I'm very findable on the Internet.

Doug Lewin

Megan, thanks so much for doing this. This was a great conversation. 

Megan Kimble

Yeah, thank you for having me.

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The Energy Capital podcast focuses on Texas energy and power grid issues, featuring interviews with energy professionals, academics, policymakers, and advocates.