The Houston-Galveston Area Council was formed in 1966 as a council of governments representing 13 counties.
H-GAC is the regional organization through which local governments consider issues and cooperate in solving area wide problems. Through H-GAC, local governments also initiate efforts in anticipating and preventing problems, saving public funds.
The City of Galveston has a reputation of only showing up for meetings of the H-GAC Board of Directors and the H-GAC Transportation Policy Council when grant funds for the city are on the agenda; and in recent years only showed up when urged to attend by consultants and/or officials from other organizations in need of funding.
There have been exceptions. Former mayor Jan Coggeshall was very active in the H-GAC, even serving as president.
Mayor Jim Yarbrough began his term with great intentions, but his surgeries limited his abilities to attend meetings.
There were no representatives from Galveston at last week's meetings of the H-GAC board or the TPC.
At last week’s Galveston City Council meeting, Mayor Yarbrough urged Council Member Ralph McMorris to continue as the city council’s representative to the TPC.
“I’d say it’s probably the most important committee H-GAC has, in my mind,” Yarbrough said.
McMorris, who attended only one meeting of the TPC last year, complained that it was time consuming.
“I liked it, but boy, it was almost all day, every time I went up there,” McMorris said. “As an interim, I can do it if we have something urgent up there. A lot of time you go up there and there’s no issues. But if we need a rep, I’ll be glad to go if we can’t get anybody else.”
That was on Thursday. On Friday, the TPC held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Neither McMorris nor Norman Pappous, the designated alternate member, attended the meeting.
Were there issues relevant to Galveston? Well, yes. One example from Friday’s meeting is the list of proposed transportation projects for funding under the recent Texas Constitutional Amendment, Proposition One. Other issues important to Galveston and the region were on the agenda; including updates and amendments to Regional Transportation Plans and the Transportation Improvement Program. The policy council also elected new officers.
Many members of the H-GAC board and the TPC travel longer distances than Galveston representatives to attend meetings regularly, whether issues specific to their entities are on the agenda or not.
Below are links to attendance reports during the past year, since the current Galveston City Council was elected in May 2014.
Board of Directors
January 20, 2015
December 16, 2014
November 18, 2014
October 21, 2014 (Terrilyn Tarlton attended)
September 16, 2014 (Jim Yarbrough attended)
August 19, 2014 (Terrilyn Tarlton attended)
July 15, 2014
June 17, 2014
May 20, 2014
Transportation Policy Council
January 23, 2015
December 19, 2014
November 21, 2014
No October meeting
September 26, 2014
August 22, 2014 (Ralph McMorris attended)
July 25, 2014
June 27, 2014
May 23, 2014