On Tuesday, Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and state Rep. Mark Keough, R-The Woodlands, participated in a Republican forum during the Liberty Belles Republican Women’s meeting at the Panorama Golf Club.
Doyal and Keough will face off in the 2018 Republican primary March 6 for the position of county judge. Incumbent Doyal has served as county judge since January 2015. Keough served two terms on the state House of Representatives, but he announced in May that he is not seeking re-election.
During the forum the Republican candidates weighed in on various local issues, including government spending, their fiscally conservative values, property appraisals, countywide mobility and the extension of the SH 249 toll road into Montgomery County.
On the topic of the SH 249 toll road, Keough questioned the total monetary impact of the project on the county as well as the amount of support county residents gave for the toll road.
“In most cases toll roads just become another means of taxation, and once [the roads are]paid for, [residents]continue to pay taxes,” Keough said. “There were 1,000 signatures that were taken to Austin, and our county government came to Austin and convinced those in charge at the hearing that the people of Montgomery County were in favor of the toll road when in fact they weren’t.”
On the other hand, Doyal said SH 249 will be the best way to address mobility issues and congestion in Montgomery County. Additionally, revenue bonds will remove pressure from local taxpayers, he said.
“If you’re drowning in traffic, there are very few other options for paying for roads [outside of revenue bonds],” Doyal said. “A lot of the traffic that’s coming through southwest Montgomery County is coming from Harris County, College Station or Waco. … There are a lot of people who are cutting through Montgomery County, so why would we not want them to help us pay for [the toll road]?”
The winner of the March 6 Republican primary will run against Democratic candidate Jay Stittleburg in the November general election.