State leaders, experts discuss future of mobility

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The first Galveston County Transportation Summit was held Sept. 1 at the Doyle Convention Center in Texas City.

Over the next decade, approximately $500 million in local, county and state resources are expected to be invested on transportation projects to improve the infrastructure in the Galveston County region.

The summit was designed to engage local, state and federal government as well as agency leaders, to encourage collaboration and future partnerships and to learn more about the transportation needs and opportunities across the region, according to Galveston County Director of Economic Development Dr. Bix Rathburn.

“In order for our county to maximize the benefit of this public investment in terms of economic and community development it is critical that we are all engaged and knowledgeable about the planning processes of current and future projects,” Rathburn said.

Officials from Houston – Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), as well as Congressman Randy Weber, Senator Larry Taylor and Representatives Wayne Faircloth and Greg Bonnen were in attendance.

Weber served as the keynote speaker and discussed Federal Transportation Issues and Perspectives.

Taylor, Faircloth and Bonnen were moderators for various panels.

Taylor’s topic was State Transportation Update and Transportation Planning Timelines and Processes. The purpose of this was to inform the participants of the processes, organizations and agencies involved in road transportation planning in Texas.

Panelists included TxDOT District Engineer (Houston District) Quincy Allen; HGAC Director of Transportation Planning Alan Clark; Commissioner Ken Clark and City of Galveston Assistant City Manager Rick Beverlin.

Faircloth moderated a panel on an Update on Major Transportation Projects in Galveston County. Panelists included TxDOT Director of Transportation Planning and Development Bill Brudnick and TxDOT Engineer (Galveston County Area) Jamal Elahi.

The purpose of this discussion was to present detailed descriptions of major Galveston County transportation projects underway, in design and being planned that will impact the community development and economic future.

Regional Transportation Project Updates was the topic for the panel moderated by Bonnen.

The purpose of this discussion was to present major regional projects that will benefit Galveston County being planned and/or under construction in Harris, Ft. Bend, Brazoria, and other adjacent counties; including projects such as the potential I-45 realignment, the Grand Parkway and toll roads.

Panelists included TxDOT Deputy District Engineer (Houston District) Eliza Paul and TxDOT Director of Alternative Project Delivery (Houston District) Varuna Singh.

Story by Karolyn Gephart

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