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Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
2018 Galveston County Transportation Summit
by John David Suayan
Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership on Friday hosted the 2018 Galveston County Transportation Summit at the Doyle Convention Center in Texas City.

As he welcomed and thanked guests and dignitaries for their attendance despite the inclement weather, BayTran Chair David Hamilton remarked how the summit was the second held, since Hurricane Harvey resulted in the 2017 event being canceled. The inaugural event was held September 1, 2016. Listen (2:18)

Hamilton acknowledged the people of North and South Carolina, who at the time were facing the effects of Hurricane Florence, and requested the attendees to remember them in their thoughts and prayers.

He then introduced Galveston County Judge Mark Henry. Henry praised BayTran for its work in producing the summit. Listen (1:21)

“It’s a monumental effort that takes a lot of hours,” said Henry.

Making light of the recent torrential downpour, the county judge joked how the summit should be held outside of hurricane season.

Galveston County Commissioner Joe Giusti led the recitations of the pledges of allegiance to the American and Texas flags while former BayTran Chair Bob Robinson delivered the invocation.

Theresa Rodriguez, BayTran President, recognized the elected officials present, as well as the summit’s sponsors. Listen (4:08)

Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark introduced the first of the day’s three panels, which featured Texas State Senator Larry Taylor and Texas State Representatives Wayne Faircloth, Ed Thompson, Dennis Paul, and Dr. Greg Bonnen. Listen (44:00)

With Bonnen as the panel moderator, the legislators discussed the state’s work in regards to transportation.

Paul said that statistics have shown that “a whole other Houston” will be thrown into the triangle area between Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston itself by 2050.

“Can you imagine how many more people are coming and going?” asked Paul. “If we don’t take care of the infrastructure needs that we have… we’re going to have a lot of problems.”

Thompson brought up autonomous vehicles, stressing that Texas should not emulate California.

“I don’t want us to become like California in that we set up some structure that limits the type of vehicle that comes into the state,” said Thompson.

He suggested that Texas should look into mass transit as a way to address population growth.

On the subject of ports, Faircloth stated that while the state may not able to play an active role as it would like to play in terms of funding, “what we can do is provide a leadership role and make sure that we can work together and all be on the same page having the same end goal in mind.”

Taylor pointed out that the ports of Galveston, Texas City, and Houston sit unprotected. He reiterated the importance of a coastal surge protection barrier.

"Freeport has protection with their levees, Beaumont has levees," Taylor said. "We have nothing."

Taylor added that the next natural disaster could devastate the ports in the Houston-Galveston area.

Dannenbaum Engineering BayTran
Remembering Jim Guidry

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