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Judge Emmett Focuses His State Of The County Address On Transportation And The Astrodome

He also called for Texas to expand Medicaid using federal funds as the most viable way.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett delivered his ninth State of the County Address at Houston's NRG Center and underlined that improving the county's transportation is one of its main challenges.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett delivered his ninth State of the County Address at Houston’s NRG Center and underlined that improving the county’s transportation is one of its main challenges.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett delivered his ninth State of the County address on Tuesday at NRG Center and spoke about the county’s accomplishments and challenges.

Emmett stressed that an important factor in that future will be improving transportation.

He advocated using more the railroad system — to move both people and freight — to alleviate Houston’s congested freeways.

As he addressed the city’s heavy traffic, Emmett singled out an option he thinks is essential.

“My personal priority is the I-69 bypass. We know that U.S. 59 is being converted to Interstate 69, but we really don’t want all that traffic coming right through the middle. There needs to be a bypass and there needs to go south and east,” said the county judge.

Emmett also noted the I-69 bypass would be an important component to handle traffic from the Port of Houston, as well as from ports in Galveston and Freeport.

Harris County Commissioner Jack Cagle, who represents Precinct 4, agreed that transportation is one of the main issues that must be dealt with.

“He is spot on with regard to that,” said Cagle. “That’s one of the reasons why in our last bond election the voters approved 74 percent that they were wanting us to invest more in that area,” the commissioner added.

In a press conference held after his speech, Emmett called for Texas to expand Medicaid using federal funding provided through the Affordable Care Act as the most viable way to do it.

The county judge had opinions on how Texas legislators criticize Medicaid expansion.

“The same people who wanna lower property taxes, also don’t wanna take that federal money. Well, the easiest way to lower property taxes is to take the federal dollars,” Emmett underlined. 

The future of the Astrodome was a topic that Emmett referred to as one of Harris County’s additional challenges and he hinted the local landmark could be used in 2017 when Houston hosts the Super Bowl.

“If you’ve seen any of the spectacular light shows that have been done on the sides of buildings, like when Rice had its Centennial, the same kind of thing can be done with the Dome,” Emmett explained.

The County Judge added he supports building a parking lot under the Astrodome, which is an option the Harris County Commissioners Court will review this year.

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Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

Digital News Producer

Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz is originally from Madrid (Spain). He worked for several years in his home country and gained experience in all platforms of journalism, from wire services to print, as well as broadcast and digital reporting. In 2001, Al came to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree...

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