The Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership hosted a presentation by Perry Fowler, director of the Heavy, Municipal and Utilities divisions of the Associated General Contractors of Texas, on Proposition 2 on the November ballot; and a presentation by Alan Clark, manager of the transportation and air quality programs for the Houston-Galveston Area Council, who spoke on “Transportation and Air Quality”.
BayTran president and executive director Coletta Castleshouldt welcomed the audience, shared her thoughts on increasing commute times, and then introduced Reverend Tony McCollum of Seabrook United Methodist Church for the invocation and Pearland Mayor Tom Reid for the Pledge of Allegiance. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Castleshouldt cited the 2011 Urban Mobility Report published by the Texas Transportation Institute of Texas A&M University.
“The report addresses the stagnating economy’s effect on the nation’s transportation system and questions its ability to keep up with job growth when the economy does return,” Castleshouldt said. “The findings in the report state that in 2010 the amount of delay experienced by commuters was 34 hours; now that’s up from 14 hours in 1982.”
She said the cost of the increasing commute times is a burden on area businesses, and the problem will get worse when the economy gets better.
“When the growth returns the average commuter is estimated to see an additional three hours of delay by 2015 and seven hours by 2020,” Castleshouldt said. “The problem is only getting worse according to this report.”
Fowler presented the background on Proposition 2 Water Bond Issue and urged the BayTran members to support it. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
“Over 93 percent of our state is experiencing exceptional drought and these prolonged dry conditions are putting a severe strain on our water supply and our water infrastructure,” Fowler said. “The current drought conditions we are having are the most severe that we have experienced since 1895. We are in the hottest, driest period in the history of the state of Texas.”
Fowler said approval of Proposition 2 would allow the Texas Water Development Board to issue up to $6 billion in additional bonds for water infrastructure, including water supply, wastewater treatment, storm water and flood control projects and other projects related to the drought.
Clark reported that work resulting from the $5 billion Proposition 12 bond election for traffic enhancements is beginning. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
“We are now seeing those projects under construction,” Clark said, noting that several projects will be reviewed soon by the H-GAC Transportation Policy Council. “The bottom line is, we are going to see more than a billion dollars of projects move forward because of the Proposition 12 Bond Program."
BayTran Chair Karen Coglianese announced that the next meeting will be on November 3 aboard the Port of Houston’s tour boat Sam Houston.