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After Budget Vote, Houston Waits For Harris County To Join In On Bayou Cars Removal

The city of Houston’s new budget includes funds to recover about a 130 cars from the city’s bayous.

The issue has long been advocated by At-Large council member Michael Kubosh.

“How long they’ve been there, I don’t know,” he says. “Some may have been there for 30, 40 years. Some haven’t been there two years. So, we have to get them out. We gotta search them, we gotta find out… Each one is a potential crime scene.”

In addition, Kubosh says the cars pollute the water and contribute to flooding.

Last week, his budget amendment to use $250,000 from the police department’s budget to get the cars out passed the City Council. But the city will only move forward if Harris County matches the expense. The county has jurisdiction over the bayous.

Kubosh plans to address the county commissioners court on Tuesday to promote a yes vote on their part. But it will also depend on the blessing of the Harris County Flood Control District, which maintains the bayous.

Mike Talbott, the district’s director, thinks getting the cars out would be a good thing.

“I think it is for the reasons that they’re looking at doing it is in terms of the vehicles themselves potentially being a crime scene, or just lost property of individuals,” Talbott says.

Houston Police Department Chief Charles McClelland has long been skeptical about the issue. He now says he supports removing the cars, but only if it can be done safely.

“If these cars break up and transmission, oil and other toxic fluids are spilled into that bayou, who’s going to be responsible for that clean-up?” McClelland asks.

Kubosh says the contractor that will be tasked with the work will be careful.

“They’ll have high-pressure hoses to blow the mud around the cars away, hook the clamps on it, lift the car up, set it on a barge,” the council member says.

The issue was first brought to light by Texas Equusearch, a private search group, which found 127 cars by doing a sonar scan on the city’s bayous.    

 

 

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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