Commissioner Riley making little progress on 2-year-old road bond projects in Precinct 2

Commissioner Riley making little progress on 2-year-old road bond projects in Precinct 2

Image: Left to right, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, Montgomery County Hospital District Board member and Treasurer Chris Grice, and Woodlands Development Company Co-Chief Executive Tim Welbes, July 10, 2017.

Magnolia, August 5 – Embattled Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley has made little progress on the November 2015 road bond projects that voters approved for construction in the southwest portion of Montgomery County for which Riley is responsible. Riley has devoted enormous time and energy to the politics and lobbying for the $73 million, 3.6-mile, Tx-249 Tollway extension that will traverse west of Magnolia and pass through vacant fields and undeveloped areas before it dead-ends into the remainder of the Tx-249 extension project which will also go through undeveloped areas.

Meanwhile, Riley has failed to focus on the 15 projects, totaling $36.1 million, that he had designated as vital to Precinct 2 in order to relieve congestion and provide safer roads. Of the 15 projects, Riley has failed to do work on 11 of them. Only 4 of the 15 are moving forward, while only 1 of the 15 has even reached the construction stage.

In all fairness to Riley, who did not return telephone calls seeking his explanation and comment for this story, the County Commissioner has been quite busy lobbying in Austin for the Tx-249 tollway which is a high priority for his political backer Rick Sheldon, the extremely successful Waco and San Antonio real estate developer who owns a large tract of land adjacent to the Tx-249 extension. Sheldon was a major contributor to the legal defense fund of both Riley and Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, who are co-criminal-defendants after a Montgomery County Grand Jury indicted them for allegedly violating the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) in June, 2016.

Riley has devoted enormous time and energy to his criminal defense in the TOMA criminal case. Additionally, Riley serves on the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Central Appraisal District where he sets the policy for re-appraisals so that taxing entities in Montgomery County may continue to enjoy substantial increases in collected taxes through the re-appraisal process. Between his focus on the Tx-249 project, ensuring that property tax appraisals continue to increase, and his criminal defense, it would be unfair for citizens to expect Riley to tend to the core business of a County Commissioner: acting as the project manager for road and bridge projects within his Precinct.

Perhaps, Riley’s devotion to Tx-249, his criminal defense, and raising property tax appraisals on Montgomery County citizens has resulted in his drawing two opponents already for the March 6, 2017, Republican Primary Election: Conroe businessman and Republican Party activist Brian Dawson as well as former Comal County Commissioner and local conservative author Gregory Parker, also of Conroe.

The following list, the source of which is the Montgomery County government, shows the status of each of the November 2015 bond projects in Riley’s Precinct 2:

FM 1774 Overpass at 1488. Status: No work done. Bond amount: $5,000,000. Official purpose: Benefits include eliminating the current FM 1774 offset at FM 1488 and allow traffic to continue straight through to FM 1774. This project also increase safety by reducing the amount of vehicles that have to cross the BNSR tracks on FM 1488.

Dobbin Huffsmith. Status: No work done. Bond amount: $200,000. Official purpose: Shoulders and left turn lanes will improve traffic flow plus the added width and the restriping and the new signs will improve safety.

FM 1488 at Kuykendahl. Status: No work done. Bond amount: $600,000. Official purpose: Increase traffic flow through intersection, provides safer movement and reduces congestion.

Goodson Loop. Status: No work done. Bond amount: $200,000. Official purpose: Official purpose: Shoulders and left turn lanes will improve traffic flow plus the added width and the restriping and the new signs will improve safety.

Hardin Store. Status: No work done. Bond amount: $200,000. Official purpose: Official purpose: Shoulders and left turn lanes will improve traffic flow plus the added width and the restriping and the new signs will improve safety.

Keenan Cutoff. Status: Engineering design services largely complete. Bond amount: $10,000,000. Official purpose: Benefits include a new thoroughfare and added mobility for area residents.

Magnolia Bypass. Status: No work done. Bond amount: $10,000,000. Official purpose: Create a new thoroughfare and added mobility for area residents.

Nichols Sawmill. Status: No work done. Bond amount: $300,000. Official purpose: Official purpose: Shoulders and left turn lanes will improve traffic flow plus the added width and the restriping and the new signs will improve safety.

Nichols Sawmill Extension (Copperhead Road). Status: right of way clearing and grubbing underway. Bond amount: $9,700,000. Official purpose: This will provide another north/south transportation route connecting Nichols Sawmill Road to Sanders Cemetery Rd./Mueschke Rd. This will improve the traffic flow plus improve safety.

Old 105. Status: No work done. Bond amount:  $200,000. Official purpose: Shoulders and left turn lanes will improve traffic flow plus the added width and the restriping and the new signs will improve safety.

Old Hockley. Status: Lab testing conducting core samples. Bond amount: $800,000. Official purpose: Official purpose: Shoulders and left turn lanes will improve traffic flow plus the added width and the restriping and the new signs will improve safety.

Pine Lake Road. Status: No work done. Bond amount: $200,000. Official purpose: Shoulders and left turn lanes will improve traffic flow plus the added width and the restriping and the new signs will improve safety.

Research Forest. Status: construction slowly underway. Bond amount: $8,000,000. Official purpose: Benefits include reducing congestion on the existing roadway and relieving traffic on parallel routes.

SH 242 at Gosling. Status: No work done. Bond amount: $600,000. Official purpose: Increase traffic flow through intersection, provides safer movement and reduces congestion.

SH 242 at Greenbridge. Status: No work done. Bond amount: $100,000. Official purpose: Increase traffic flow through intersection, provides safer movement and reduces congestion.

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