The Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership held its 12th Annual State of the Counties Address at the Downtown Aquarium today. The program featured reports from Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, Brazoria County Judge Joe King and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.
BayTran Executive Director Coletta Castleschouldt opened the meeting, BayTran Vice Chair Bob Robinson introduced Reverend Jim Jackson from the First United Methodist Church in Dickinson, who gave the invocation and Nathaniel Speake of the Houston Grand Opera, who sang the Star Spangled Banner. Tobin Maples, chair of BayTran, introduced the elected officials in the room. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark introduced Judge Henry. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
“In our county, we are very interested in transportation and the reasons are obvious,” Henry said. “Mobility 364 days out of the year and evacuation one day out of the year.”
King was introduced by Brazoria County Commissioner Dude Payne. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
“Judge Henry, I’m here to tell you that in Joe King’s opinion, the best thing that ever happened to Galveston and Brazoria counties was when Judge Emmett was elected,” King said. “Because when we had Ike we had a mass evacuation, but it wasn’t anything compared to what we had experienced before.”
King was referring to the monumental traffic jam that occurred during the Hurricane Rita evacuation.
Harris County Commissioner Jack Morman introduced Judge Emmett. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Emmett urged the BayTran members to support the I-69 project, to serve the ports of Freeport, Texas City and Houston.
“That will allow our region, our state, to develop economically far more than any other project we can do,” Emmett said. “Because suddenly those ports will be the focus of global trade. We are going to have to have that because, I’m sorry, 146 and 225 just aren’t going to cut it long-term. We are going to have to get that I-69 built.”
On Friday, Emmett will deliver his annual State of the County Address to the Greater Houston Partnership.