February 12, 2009

TxDOT agrees to work with county group on project

Waller County News-Citizen

WALLER – In a letter dated Jan. 21, addressed to the Waller County Sub-Regional Planning Commission, Amadeo Saenz Jr., executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, agreed to coordinate with the WCSRPC in regards to the plans and programs of the I-69/TTC project.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with your group on transportation issues that are important to Waller County citizens,” Saenz stated in his letter.

The letter further details that Saenz has instructed TxDOT Houston District staff to coordinate these efforts with the WCSRPC and to arrange a meeting, because the Houston District is best positioned to understand regional issues.

“This is a significant step in the process for Waller County citizens and the WCSRPC,” stated Maurice Hart Jr., president of the WCSRPC.

“As long as Waller County remains on the Environmental Impact Statement for the I-69/TTC project as an alternative route, we are going to require TxDOT to coordinate with us so that any potential project that is done in our area is consistent with the transportation and mobility plans and goals of our area and of our citizens,” Hart added.

Trey Duhon, vice president of Citizens for a Better Waller County, feels that this is a significant accomplishment for the WCSRPC, “This letter shows that TxDOT is acknowledging Chapter 391 of the Texas Local Government Code. Waller County now has the ability to sit at the table with a state agency like TxDOT as equal partners in the transportation process. The ultimate winners will be the citizens of Waller County. CBWC is extremely pleased that coordination efforts are now moving forward.”

Despite recent announcements by TxDOT that the Trans Texas Corridor project is dead, Duhon expressed caution, “After many years of working against the Trans Texas Corridor, the recent announcement is encouraging, but we can not let our guard down. The recent announcement seems to be more of a name change than anything else. As long as Waller County remains on the EIS as an alternative, there is a danger to our area. We have gone too far to relax now and get caught off guard. The WCSRPC will be an effectively tool to monitor TxDOT's real intentions.”

The WCSRPC was initially formed in April of 2008 by Waller County and the cities of Waller, Pine Island, and Prairie View. Since that time, the city of Pattison has become a member along with Waller ISD and the Brookshire Katy Drainage District, which became new members at the commission meeting that was held on Feb. 2. Don Garrett, president of CBWC, has also been appointed as a non-elected citizen director.

Hart stated, “We still have standing invitations to the cities of Hempstead, Brookshire, Katy, Hempstead ISD, Royal ISD, Bluebonnet Water District, and Emergency Services District No. 200 to be a part of the process in joining the WCSRPC. This organization will facilitate communication between Waller County cities, the county, and other important entities so that we can all work together to improve the quality of life for all Waller County citizens in relation to any state or federal project in Waller County. With TxDOT’s agreement to coordinate, it is important for everyone to have a seat at the table. We are looking forward to our first meeting with TxDOT officials.”

The Commission also voted to extend an invitation to Katy ISD to join the WCSRPC.

The WCSRPC is also looking at zip codes issues in Prairie View and Pattison, in addition to drainage issues in Waller County.

For additional information and updates on the WCSRPC, you can visit their website at http://wallercountysrpc.blogspot.com. As soon as a meeting date with TxDOT is set, the website will be updated with that date and time. The WCSRPC meets regularly at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of every month at the Road & Bridge complex in Hempstead across from DiLorio's on Business Hwy 290.

Meetings of the WSRPC are open to the public.

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