Brian Babin, Randy Weber discuss Port of Houston, coastal spine updates

Rep. Brian Babin, R-Woodville (bottom-left), and Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland (bottom-right), spoke briefly at a BayTran meeting about the widening of the Port of Houston, the coastal spine project and the expansion of Grand Parkway.
Rep. Brian Babin, R-Woodville (bottom-left), and Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland (bottom-right), spoke briefly at a BayTran meeting about the widening of the Port of Houston, the coastal spine project and the expansion of Grand Parkway.

Rep. Brian Babin, R-Woodville (bottom-left), and Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland (bottom-right), spoke briefly at a BayTran meeting about the widening of the Port of Houston, the coastal spine project and the expansion of Grand Parkway.

The Port of Houston, the coastal spine and Grand Parkway are three projects at the top of Bay Area congresspersons' minds during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rep. Brian Babin, R-Woodville, and Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland, spoke briefly via teleconference at a Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership meeting May 4 about the three projects and how they are priorities for southeast Houston's infrastructure, which Babin said is "crumbling and in dire need of ... repairs."

Widening and dredging the Port of Houston is a way to fix many of its problems, Babin said, including problems between energy and containment vessels.

"[Widening the channel] will solve just about every problem [we have]," he said. "It's my No. 1 priority."

Once the widening is funded, the port will need additional money for maintenance, but Babin asserted his belief that it will be worth the cost.


"It's what drives the economic engine of [Houston]," he said of the port.

Weber echoed Babin's sentiments, noting that widening the Port of Houston and other projects could help Texas lead the rest of the county out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We would argue southeast Texas, this Gulf Coast, is well-positioned to be the energy capital of the world," he said. "I think when this pandemic [is] over, Texas is well-positioned to emerge, probably, the quickest.”

Another project top of mind is the coastal spine, a proposed series of dunes and walls that would help protect the Bay Area from storm surges during hurricanes. The $23 billion-$32 billion project is still in the planning stages and will eventually need congressional approval; however, Weber mentioned that President Donald Trump has said it sounds "stupid" to build something to hold back a hurricane.

A third priority, Babin and Weber said, is the Grand Parkway, the incomplete "third loop" in the Greater Houston area, construction of which Bay Area officials have been advocating for years. The parkway would go through League City and link up to Hwy. 146, thus improving transportation in the area and providing an evacuation route during emergencies, officials have said.

Babin and Weber said Congress is not in session because of COVID-19, but both said it is time to get back to work, possibly voting in shifts to move bills along.

We haven’t heard anything about going back into session, which is not good news," Weber said. "I think we ought to be there. We can sit 6 feet apart, and we can start working on some of this stuff.”

“People are suffering, and they want to go back to work," Babin agreed. "We've been out of work long enough."

By Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.

<

MOST RECENT

District officials shared storm damage photos at a Feb. 22 board meeting. (Courtesy Clear Creek ISD)
Clear Creek ISD updates: 88% of campuses sustained damage during winter storm, quarantine practices revised

District safety officials briefed trustees at a board meeting Feb. 22 about the extent of damages and gave other details related to CCISD’s storm responses. Of the 42 campuses, 37 sustained damages requiring immediate action, officials said.

key in door lock
Evictions continue in Houston as new measures aim to stem tide

Over 32,000 eviction cases were filed in Harris County courts in 2020.

Houston City Hall in rainbow lighting
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce celebrates five years of service

The organization is open to all and serves members throughout the Greater Houston area.

Reedy Chapel, one of more than a dozen historically Black churches in Galveston, is a stop on the tour. (Courtesy Clayton Kolavo/GICVB Marketing)
Galveston tourism app guides visitors through city’s historically Black institutions, monuments

The interactive app, offered by the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, allows visitors to customize a tour itinerary based on interests and time allocation.

The new Fort Bend Epicenter multipurpose facility could be used as a spot for trade shows and sporting events, could act as a large-scale shelter for county residents in an emergency and more. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Large multipurpose complex coming to Fort Bend County; Sugar Land to widen University Blvd. and more top Houston-area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather. (Community Impact staff)
Q&A: Greater Houston Builders Association President Keith Luechtefeld discusses power, plumbing, frozen pipes after Winter Storm Uri

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather.

Winter Storm Uri led to closures across the Greater Houston area during the third week of February. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)
‘It’s been a rough year for us’: Expert explains economic effects of winter storm, ongoing pandemic in Houston region

“It's been a rough year for us economically; it's been a rough year for us public health wise. It's just been a rough year for us psychologically—first the coronavirus and then the freeze," said Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research with the Greater Houston Partnership.

The $560 million central processor, which is part of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal, will replace the parking garage for terminals D and E. (Courtesy Houston Airport System)
Parking garage at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to be demolished to make way for new Mickey Leland International Terminal

The international central processor, which is part of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal, will replace the parking garage for terminals D and E.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.