The Texas House Transportation Committee will again by chaired by Representative Terry Canales, with some new appointees announced today. Vice-Chair of the Transportation Committee will be Representative Ed Thompson (Brazoria).
The re-appointment of Canales, a Rio Grand Valley Democrat, was announced by Republican Speaker of the House Dade Phelan. "Representative Canales was a novice to transportation last session but turned out to be a quick study and was very insightful in handling many issues that came before the committee", according to Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. "Canales showed he is concerned about how to fund all modes of transportation to move people and goods, not just highways." Chairman Canales appeared on the 17th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference, held online this past week, and indicated that TxDOT needs more flexibility in spending their funds. "97% of transportation funding now goes to highways and we need to look at rail to move people and goods", according to Canales. "Texas is losing out on millions of dollars every year in federal matching funds by not having a state fund for rail projects. Many years ago voters approved the Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund which was meant to be a revolving fund. But after creating it the state never appropriated any money for it. We love creating funds in the Texas legisature but we never seem to put our money where our mouth is." Canales said "rail will help grow the economy if we use it as an economic investment tool." Canales' interview is available to view now for attendees of the Southwestern Rail Conference and will be available to the general public on Thursdsy, February 11 through the Texas Rail Advocates website.
Representatives named to House Transportation include:
Yvonne Davis (Dallas) J.M. Lozano (Portland) Armando Martinez (Weslaco) Trent Ashby (Lufkin) John Bucy (Cedar Park) Cody Harris (Hillsboro) Brooks Landgraf (Odessa) Lina Ortega (El Paso) Mary Ann Perez (Pasadena) Glenn Rogers (Brownwood) John Smithee (Amarillo)