The Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council today voted unanimously to elect new officers for 2012. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett was elected chair of the TPC, Houston City Council Member Stephen Costello was elected first vice chair, Liberty County Commissioner Norman Brown was elected second vice chair and Pearland Mayor Tom Reid was elected secretary, a position he has held for some time. The council wanted to elect Fort Bend County Commissioner James Patterson as past chair, which he is, but it will be a new position on the TPC Board of Directors, so a bylaw election will be held by mail to officially designate him as past chair.
“I think the first order of business is to thank Mr. Patterson for his service,” Judge Emmett said upon taking the gavel.
The board voted to approve at-large voting members and alternates of the TPC and at-large voting members and alternates of the Technical Advisory Committee. List
The board deferred election of non-voting ex-officio appointments to the TPC until a future meeting.
Tim Lomax, a senior research engineer at Texas Transportation Institute, a branch of Texas A&M University, appeared before the TPC to review recommendations for the first round of Rider 42 bond funding. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Lomax said his group works with transportation professionals in the four largest metropolitan areas in Texas where the 50 most congested sections of roads are located.
“The direction is to try to figure out what projects and efforts within projects might be needed to move some larger projects forward, projects like US 290,” Lomax said. “We are to determine which projects have the greatest impact on a variety of factors; congestion among them, but also economic benefits, user costs, safety, air quality and several other elements.”
Carol Caul, a member of the board of directors of the Citizens Transportation Coalition, addressed the TPC about the Rider 42 project, seeking continuation of the High Occupancy Vehicle lane.
Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
“Since 1998, US 290 has had a single reversible HOV lane that was built with FTA grant funds,” Caul said. “The transit facility has played a crucial role in the 290 Corridor for more than 20 years through HOV commuter bus service as well as van pools and car pools.”
Alan Clark and Jeff Taeble of the H-GAC staff presented an overview of the development of the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
“In the development plan we are looking to partner on an effort to develop a regional plan for sustainable development,” Clark said.
“I’ve always wanted to know a clear, simple definition of sustainability,” Emmett said, directing the question to Taeble.
“Well, I think the one that is often used is, words to the effect of not compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs by decisions we make in the present,” Taeble answered.
“I am tempted to trigger the BS meter on that definition,” Emmett quipped.
“Well, you asked me, so I offered,” Taeble responded.
The TPC also reviewed a proposed resolution in support of co-designation of the US 59/IH 69 corridor, but that will be considered for action at a future meeting. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
All action item on the agenda were approved unanimously. Agenda
Galveston City Council Member Dianna Puccetti, League City City Council Member Mick Phalen, Missouri City Assistant City Manager Scott Elmer and Gulf Coast Rail District Chair Mark Ellis were absent and not represented by alternate members. Conroe Downtown Development Manager Larry Calhoun was absent but was represented by Conroe City Council Member Guy Martin and Montgomery County Commissioner Craig Doyal was absent but was represented by County Engineer Mark Mooney.