Many people's expectations for the CBD may never be realizedalthough Downtown certainly has turned the corner on the road torevitalization and expansion, Smith concludes. The Beltway 8 areais the best magnet for new job growth in the future.

In his recently issued report, Smith points out, "the explosionin growth in the distant suburbs is as strong as ever. Ft. Bend andMontgomery counties both grew about 60% in the last decade."

Smith says urban mobility is the key to maintaining the strengthof the city as a whole as well as the CBD. His report predictsthat, "failure to make significant mobility progress will keep theaccessibility premiums high, but they, in turn, will thwart themovement back to the inner city as prices become progressively outof reach for most Houstonians." The light-rail project alone willnot solve the at-large problem. Toll roads, he says, carry lowerdevelopment, construction and management costs and come to fruitionin quicker fashion.

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