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Jim Guidry Commentaries
A Review of Transportation Districts
by Jim Guidry
Friday, June 21, 2013

Several entities with similar names and missions that are covered by Guidry News Service are involved in transportation/rail projects.  Many readers, as well as some journalists, public officials and transportation professionals may have difficulty in understanding their various structures and missions. 

Galveston County Rural Rail Transportation District

Earlier this week, the Galveston County Rural Rail Transportation District Board of Directors approved a memorandum of understanding with Legacy Port Partners regarding funding for a feasibility study on a new bridge for cars and trucks as well as rail to Pelican Island.  This district was created by Galveston County Commissioners Court to facilitate development of a new connection to Pelican Island.  The name of the district has been called by various names by participants, the news media and those in government.

In fact, the agenda for the most recent meeting was titled “Galveston County Rural Transportation District (without the word ‘rail’ in the title” and the title of the memorandum of understanding approved by the district’s board of directors did not include the word “rail”.  However, the full name, including “rail” was used in the text of the document. 

Mike Hughes, the attorney for the district, provided the bylaws, which spells out the proper name of the district. 

Members of the GCRRTD are appointed by Galveston County Commissioners Court and the board is chaired by John Ford.  At this time, the feasibility study for the new bridge is the only project on its agenda.  For our report on this week’s meeting, Click Here.

Galveston County Transit District

The Galveston County Transit District was created under the Texas Transportation Code to assist in the planning, funding and development of regional transit access for Galveston County.  The board of directors is comprised of representatives of the municipal governments in Galveston County and the commissioners court. The group initially sought funding for commuter rail between Houston and Galveston but has since concentrated on rubber tire enhancements that may later evolve into rail.

For our most recent article on the Galveston County Transit District, Click Here

Gulf Coast Rail District

The Gulf Coast Rail District is a regional body that was created by Harris County, the City of Houston, and Fort Bend County under authority granted by the Texas Transportation Code in 2007.

“The district is governed by a board of directors consisting of twelve appointees, one an ex officio member appointed by the Texas Transportation Commission,” said a statement on the district’s web site. “The district chairman is jointly appointed by Harris County Commissioners Court and the Mayor of the City of Houston. Other members include the chairman of the Port of Houston Authority and appointments by Harris County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County, Waller County, as well as the City of Houston, small municipalities in Harris County and small municipalities in Fort Bend County."

The website lists three goals of the GCRD

  1. Safety and security, particularly safety at grade crossings and homeland security.
  2. Mobility and access, for vehicles, pedestrians and trains, including commuter rail.
  3. Quality of life, through context sensitive design, air quality improvements, noise reduction, natural hazard mitigation, and other neighborhood enhancements.

For our most recent article on the GCRD Click Here

Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council

All of the districts seek federal and state funding for transportation projects through the Houston-Galveston Area Council.  Requests for funding are first reviewed by the H-GAC
Transportation Policy Council.  For our latest report on the TPC,
Click Here

City of Galveston Intermodal Transportation Committee

This city committee, which was created by a merger of the Galveston Transportation Commission and the Galveston Livable Communities Initiative Steering Committee several years ago, deals with transportation issues in Galveston.  Projects include development of a Downtown Intermodal Transportation Terminal that someday may be the terminus for commuter rail, as well as serve Galveston Island’s transit system.  For our latest article on the ITC, Click Here

Guidry News Service covers several other organizations involved in transportation issues, including port authorities, city councils, commissioners courts and regional bodies such as the Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership.

Our reports on transportation/rail issues are all compiled on the Guidry Transportation page.  Click Here

Remembering Jim Guidry Lest We Forget

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