HCA Welcomes Harris County Commissioner Jack Cagle
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
The Houston Contractors Association was proud to welcome as the keynote speaker for the March luncheon, Commissioner of Harris County Precinct 4, Jack Cagle. Commissioner Cagle stated that growth in the region has been incredible. Harris County is the fastest growing county in the entire nation and we live in the place that has the most people move into it in the last year. Cagle stated that they are coming here because we are a great place to be and that growth is spurring our economic ability within this region.
Statistics show that there is a sharing of that growth between the City of Houston and the unincorporated portions of Harris County. According to Commissioner Cagle, the City’s growth is confined whereas the County’s growth is where all the raw land is located and that is where the new development is occurring. The City of Houston is considered to be the fourth largest city in the country, Harris County is the third largest county in the country, however if you take the population of the unincorporated parts of Harris County that surround the City and compare it to Houston, you will find that the unincorporated population is equal to or greater than that of the City of Houston. As the population grows so does precinct 4, the more people move into the area, more services are needed to address this growth.
Commissioner Cagle stated that he is always looking for ways to partner with other jurisdictions to help fund various projects. Whether it is Metro, the City, MUD districts or a neighborhood civic association, he is constantly trying to get more for each county dollar. The Commissioner used as an example the installment of a traffic light. If the County puts in a light, it will be the standard light on a string. However, if the community wants to put in a nicer looking mast arm, the County will work with them and allow them to participate for a small fee. This approach has been used in certain areas when adding sidewalks to road widening projects. If the community wants to add a sidewalk, the County will work with them, typically covering the cost of the additional engineering while the neighborhood covers the cost of the sidewalk. The Commissioner noted that it is cheaper to install a sidewalk while the road is under construction than to wait and install it after the fact.
The Commissioner said that he was excited about some of the big projects in his precinct. He stated that when he first came into office he was told that the 249 Tollway would never happen. He said that as of next month the Tomball Tollway would officially be opened to traffic. Originally he said he was told that US 290 would not be rebuilt 15 for another 20 years. Since then the County worked a deal where Harris County put in $200 million and are gave TxDOT the revenue off of the I-10 toll system in exchange, TxDOT then was able to move the construction deadline from being completed ten to twenty years from now to being under construction today. Because Harris County participated in the 290 project and took over the SH 249 Tollway, the Grand Parkway was moved forward and by the end of the year, according to Cagle, you will be able to drive the next section of the Grand Parkway between 290 to US 59.