Presidents Corner: May 2021

Howdy WHA Members, 

Last month, I updated you on some issues of importance to the region in the Texas Legislature. This month I want to give you a quick update on one of those matters as well as let you know about some of our regional and local advocacy efforts. 

As of April 14thHB 1410 has been passed the House by a wide margin and its companion, SB 1959, has been assigned to Local Government Committee. We look forward to this legislation continuing to move forwards as these bills would allow qualified districts to develop and finance additional recreational facilities to serve their community and the region. As discussed at our Blues to Greens forum last year, these funds could have important dual use implications serving as both recreational amenities to benefit physical and mental well-being as well as water retention areas to benefit flood control

The Regional Mobility Committee continues to be active, recently discussing and ultimately making a public comment supporting the amendment to that H-GAC add 36A to the list of projects in their 2045 Regional Transportation Plan. Given that the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan is an important tool for guiding the careful planning and analysis of projects related to regional mobility, congestion mitigation, quality of life, safety, and efficient movement of good, 36A needs to be examined to be inclusive of options for connectivity to Interstate 10 and to US 290. This will provide thoughtfully contemplate benefits related to general mobility, economic development, environmental preservation, evacuation safety, and efficient freight mobility movement. Including this project in the RTP will allow for continued regional conversation on potential alignments for this project and will facilitate environmental reviews in a manner which is most appropriate to address and mitigate any potential project impacts while maximizing project benefits. 

The Flooding and Drainage Committee has also been active in advocacy, sending letters to Mayor Turner and City Council stating our concerns about changes to Ch 9 of the City of Houston’s Infrastructure Design Manual. This conversation continues as we hope to bring city and county drainage policies more in alignment and address other issues such as redevelopment, fee in lieu, and exemption policies. 

I am excited that we continue to make headway on these important issues and look forward to seeing our impact come to fruition across the greater West Houston region. Our work each day leads to continuously improving the quality of life for the 2,000,000 people who live, work, and play in West Houston.