GALVESTON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
CONVENE RURAL PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION CONFERENCE
On Tuesday, April 13th, 2010, Galveston County Commissioner’s Court will convene a Public Transportation Conference to discuss the creation of a Galveston County Rural Transit District, pursuant to Chapter 458 of the Texas Transportation Code.
The conference will be held at 1:30 p.m. at
Wayne Johnson Community Center
4102 Main Street (FM 519)
Carbide Park in La Marque
Judge James Yarbrough, County Commissioners, and an elected representative of each Galveston County municipality will gather to discuss and evaluate whether a rural transit district to provide public transportation services should be created. With agreement by this conference a date will then be set for a public hearing on the creation of this transit district. The current provider of rural transit services for Galveston County is the Gulf Coast Center (GCC), through its “Connect Transit”. The urban areas in the County, the City of Galveston and Texas City/La Marque may also choose to join the Galveston County Rural Transit District, if approved by the participating cities, to create a consolidated Galveston County Transit District.
The justification presented and discussed with the Galveston County Commissioner’s Court for creating the proposed District are as follows:
Our region currently has many areas in need of public transportation, but for which there is no organized method for providing same. Creation of a Galveston County Transit District provides a forum for interagency cooperation, coordinated planning and local funding to help fill transit gaps.
Creation of a County Rural Transit District provides a forum for all political subdivisions within the County (at their option), and other stakeholders to openly discuss the challenges of providing public transportation and to determine the best and most cost effective means of supporting needed services. As the greater Houston region grows, mobility is becoming a more important in the daily lives of workers, visitors, and our citizens that are trying to access medical facilities, places of employment, shopping, and recreation.
A significant portion of Galveston County is currently included within the Houston Urbanized Area (UZA). This expansion by the Houston UZA into Galveston County is likely to grow with the results of the 2010 Census. It is important to note that Congress and the federal government distribute substantial federal funding annually to both rural areas, through the Texas Department of Transportation, and to urbanized areas, to support public transportation development and services. As such, a significant portion of federal taxes contributed by Galveston County taxpayers will come under the control of the Houston UZA and the designated recipient of this funding, Houston METRO.
Galveston County Commissioners Court believes it important, therefore, to establish a political subdivision dedicated to improved transit, so that it can secure its fare share of federal and state funding to support public transportation today and for the future.
Creation of a Rural County Transit District will also enable urbanized areas within Galveston County, to join the District through inter-local agreement. In the case of Galveston County, the urbanized areas of Galveston and Texas City/La Marque, currently receive federal and state transit funding through their designation as a Small Urbanized Area.
There are several upcoming events which underscore the importance of a coordinated effort toward improved public transportation within Galveston County. One is the pending congressional authorization of a new Transportation Bill which is likely to substantially increase current funding federal levels for public transportation; another is the upcoming 2010 census which will significantly expand the Houston UZA into northern Galveston County. Finally, creation of the proposed District will facilitate the development of major projects such as the Galveston-Houston Commuter Rail.