Precinct 2 county commissioner Jack Morman was in good form last Friday, as he addressed a friendly crowd and brought them up to date on activities in East Harris County. Morman started by noting the death of Deputy Darren Goforth that week with a moment of silence.
Then he moved on to some lighter fare, chiding NC Star publisher Gil Hoffman for commenting on his “East Harris County” attire at a recent meeting with a lack of tie and suit coat.
But Morman’s talk contained some serious business, stating that despite the state’s reluctance to remove toxic material stored in waste pits in the San Jacinto River, his opinion was that the pollution had to be completely removed, and he felt the county and his own position would support that. He said that the TDEC studies did not adequately account for catastrophic events such as Hurricanes and storm surges, that could dislodge pollutants and further endanger residents in Channelview, Highlands, and other river communities nearby.
He noted that environmental studies of the river were continuing, with the Galveston Bay Foundation conducting a fish study, and a well water feasibility study also underway.
Morman mentioned the bond issue that will be on the ballot in November. He noted that their were four issues to vote on, and that Precinct 2 would receive $160 million total for roads and drainage, parks, and other needed improvements. He emphasized that if passed, it would NOT mean an increase in the tax rate for the county.
Some of the projects that would be funded include a widening of FM2100 from Crosby north to Huffman, which has been a very deadly stretch of roadway. Also planned is a widening of the Beltway 8 East, from 4 lanes to 8. This will match up with a new Toll Bridge over the ship channel, with 4 lanes in each direction. This bridge, however, is not in the bond package, and the $900 million it will cost will come from federal highway funds, Morman said. It is expected to be complete in 2021.
Another project in the bond package is an overpass on Federal Road, over the railroad tracks, which are now a major traffic bottleneck.
Also included is $15 million for parks improvements.
Asked about more sheriff ’s patrols, by Mike Williams, Morman promised more “boots” will be funded, especially in the park patrols.