May 25, 2005
The Latest On HB 2702

Eye on Williamson County points to the current status of HB2702, the bill that has so far survived the process to clean up stuff from last session's HB3588, which created the Trans-Texas Corridor.

The Senate version of House Bill 2702 would limit commer- cial investment in a proposed Texas turnpike network and would require public approval before a free road could become a toll road. The House-passed version contains no such provision.

An amendment added Saturday by Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, D-Austin, would prohibit billboards along Texas 130 in Travis County.

Because the Senate-passed measure contains different wording and provisions than the version approved earlier by the House, the legislation now goes to a conference committee to resolve the differences.

The Senate version:

* Would require a public vote for all conversions of existing roads to toll roads.

* Would remove the ability of the state to purchase land on the Trans-Texas Corridor and use it for a garage, store, restaurant or hotel. The House version would continue to allow such uses.

* Would require that gas stations and convenience stores on the Trans-Texas Corridor be in the median, not outside the lanes, and be no closer than five miles from regular entrances or exits.

* Would require state or local governments to regulate toll rates, rather than granting that authority to private toll road concessionaires. The conference committee probably will be led by Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Williamson County, and Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine, the sponsors of the House and Senate versions.

Both measures clean up House Bill 3588, the 300-plus-page legislation from 2003 that granted the state and regional mobility authorities a wide range of powers to create toll roads.

I'd have liked to have seen more, but what the Senate version proposes is all good. It still has to make it through the conference committee process, though, so nothing is written into stone yet.

On other toll-road related news, that meeting to discuss the Grand Parkway extension through Spring is tonight. See below the fold for more. Anne, I hope you'll attend and write something up on it afterwards.

Also, the Citizen's Transportation Coalition's board will meet this Thursday, May 26 at 6:45pm at the HEB Central Market on Westheimer at Weslayan. All CTC meetings are open to interested individuals, so make plans to attend if that includes you.

Public meeting Wednesday night organized by area
neighborhood groups to include Commissioner Jerry Eversole,
Art Storey, Gary Trietsch and other officials


Yvonne Tallent, Willow Glen subdivision
c 281-813-9513

David Mifflin, Fox Hollow West HOA
h 281-288-3895
c 713-705-4531

Connie O'Donnell United to Save Our Spring
h 281-376-8385

HARRIS COUNTY, TX - A coalition of Spring and Tomball-area homeowners associations and property owners will host a town hall meeting Wednesday evening to press Harris County and TxDOT officials for answers to questions regarding the proposed Grand Parkway Segment F2 project.

What: Public Meeting on the proposed Grand Parkway, segment F2. Officials will answer questions from concerned residents

When: Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 7:00 pm

Where: Klein Collins High School, auditorium
20811 Ella Blvd., Spring, TX 77388

Proposed routes for Segment F2 of the Grand Parkway would dissect neighborhoods in the Tomball and Spring areas. Residents are concerned by the potential for extensive loss of property through condemnation in order to obtain right-of-way for the proposed toll road. Many residents have received "Notices of Intent to Survey Property" from engineers working on the project for Harris County Toll Road Authority, though the road was originally billed as a TxDOT project. With confusion over which agency will eventually build the road, this meeting is an attempt for residents to determine which entity in fact has control over the project, and ensure that their concerns are heard and addressed.

"There have been a lot of rumors flying around about which agency is in control of the project and where it is going," said David Mifflin, a member of Fox Hollow West HOA. "Any information they have to offer us, we need. We have not heard an update on the project since Harris County got involved in January."

Panel guests at the meeting will include Jerry Eversole, Harris County Commissioner, Precinct 4; Art Storey, Executive Director of Harris County Public Infrastructure; Mike Strech, Director Harris County Toll Road Authority; Gary Trietsch, District Engineer, TxDOT; David Gornet, Executive Director, Grand Parkway Association; Jerry Thomas, United to Save Our Spring; and Peter Tyler, Advocacy Chair, Citizens' Transportation Coalition. Meeting attendees will include representatives from the offices of state Rep. Debbie Riddle, Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale, Congressmen Mike McCaul, and Congressman Ted Poe.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 25, 2005 to That's our Lege | TrackBack

Thanks for mentioning the Grand Parkway meeting. I am trying to go, but whether I can or not hinges on child care. We'll see!

Posted by: Anne on May 25, 2005 6:33 AM