June 25, 2008

Grimes County GO group claims 391 Commission needed now more than ever

BY ROSEMARY SMITH, Examiner editor
The Navasota Examiner
Copyright 2008

Even after the recent announcement by TxDOT to use existing highways for the Trans-Texas Corridor, Grimes County Get Organized (GCGO) members are continuing to urge local commissioners to form a 391 sub regional planning commission. During Monday’s commissioners court meeting, County Judge Betty Shiflett told GCGO member Reuben Grassl the commissioners are still working on obtaining more information before they make a decision.

Grimes County Attorney Jon C. Fultz told The Examiner, “The matter of the formation of a 391 Commission seems to be a relatively new concept, if not in authorization at least in relevant application. I want to talk to those who have seen the pros and cons of such. While I have talked to several individuals regarding the 391 Commission, there remain a couple of individuals who I have been told may have some insights that ought to be considered.”

Grassl told The Examiner that forming a 391 commission is even more important now, as he is not so sure that Grimes County is out of harm’s way, since Brazos County would like to be connected with the corridor.

“If that happens, it’s just us now. We don’t have the backing of 28,000 people,” he said, referring to the number of comments received from the public during a series of 47 hearings held in recent months.

During the announcement, TxDOT Executive Director Amadeo Saenz said, "We're going to be focusing on (U.S.) 59 in Houston. Highway 6 could be a connecting road. We don't know whether it would be in Grimes County or Brazos County. The environmental study will determine that.”

Fellow GCGO member Joyce Floyd added, “As a group, Grimes County Get Organized is elated with the announcement from the Texas Department of Transportation regarding the decision to, at least for now, build the TTC along existing rights-of-way. We won a very important battle, but not the war. It is our contention that had Grimes County had a 391 sub regional planning commission in place, the wishes of the majority of the residents in the county would have been immediately relayed to TxDOT, as well as to any state agency with projects planned for our area.

“Conversation with the TxDOT office in Austin confirmed that they would welcome the input of a 391 sub-regional and work with the commission to become more effective and efficient in the future.

“We will continue to lobby our elected city and county officials to form a 391 sub-regional planning commission to assist Grimes County in planning for its growth now and in the future.”

© 2008, The Navasota Examiner: www.navasotaexaminer.com

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