Grand Parkway Stays in County Control

Harris County Commissioners Court has approved an option for the Grand Parkway that keeps the project out of the control of the Texas Department of Transportation. The so-called “local primacy” option commits Harris County to build its portion of the project. Pat Hernandez has the story.

Harris County is leading a seven county consortium in the development of the Grand Parkway. It is a proposed 180- plus mile highway that crosses seven counties and encircles the greater Houston region. County Judge
Ed Emmett says the agreement approved by commissioners allows the county — not TxDot — to develop, design, finance, construct, operate, and maintain the portion of the project within the county:

“Otherwise, it would have gone back to Texas Department of Transportation and they would have had the right to sell it to a private interest, just as they’ve done in projects in central Texas and north Texas. And I think that if the Grand Parkway is going to be built, we would rather have local control rather than have it sold to some foreign company, whether that company is from Spain or Oklahoma or anywhere else.”

Ft. Bend County agreed to similar terms. Emmett says the other Grand Parkway counties — Galveston, Brazoria, Chambers, Liberty and Montgomery — must act on the option before the end of next week. If not, TxDot will have the
ability to pursue the project for each section.

“All the counties have agreed that this is what we want to do, mainly just to maintain control, and to make sure its a local control, and that the Grand Parkway is not sold off to a private interest for development.”

Once the counties approve their local control, they must begin construction within 2-years of receiving federal government approval. If not, TxDot will take over the project.

PH, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.