The Woodlands, July 28 – Rob Eissler, President of the Westwood Magnolia Parkway Improvement District (WiMP) and lobbyist for WiMP, the Woodlands Township, Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and others has announced that he’s walking back from the discussions to finance a portion of the mightily unpopular Woodlands Parkway Extension (WPX) after The Golden Hammer reported Riley’s efforts to move forward on it. This past Tuesday, during a meeting of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court, Riley even complimented Eissler’s work on WiMP, “I like what Rob Eissler is doing. I like what he’s doing with Woodlands, not Woodlands, Westwood Improvement District.” Specifically, what Riley spoke of was Eissler’s dealing to move WPX forward.
This newspaper broke the story concerning the entire scheme on Friday in “Riley, Eissler, TWDC to plow forward with Woodlands Parkway Extension,” The Golden Hammer, July 27, 2018. No other media outlet in Montgomery County reported the situation, because this newspaper operates independently of County government direction.
After the story broke, a huge wave of reaction occurred in The Woodlands. The Golden Hammer has confirmed, through five different Township employees who have requested anonymity, that several members of the Woodlands Township Board of Directors are – independently of each other – moving to terminate the Township’s contract with Eissler as a lobbyist.
Eissler, who was very forthright about the WPX situation during an interview on Thursday, July 26, contacted this newspaper on Friday, July 27, to explain his position as amended.
Eissler said on Friday, “We [the WiMP Board of Directors] haven’t had any requests to consider. I’m sorry that I ever brought it up. Our interest is not in that direction. It was all conjecture and not serious about WPX as I have been representing the Woodlands Township.” Eissler did, however, confirm on Thursday that real estate developer Tim Weems had approached WiMP about annexing some of his property along the proposed Riley-HGAC route for WPX in order for WiMP to issue bonds to provide partial financing for WPX. Eissler also confirmed that he had review a proposed map for WPX that would include WiMP-annexed property.
Eissler is an extremely intelligent former state representative and school board member who now has his own lobbying firm. Eissler graduated from Princeton University in 1973, served as a Naval Pilot, and worked as an employment headhunter during a large portion of his career. This newspaper had confirmed the story in its entirety before speaking to Eissler towards the end of the afternoon on Thursday.
During the interview with The Golden Hammer on Thursday, Eissler explained that the portion of WPX that WiMP might finance was a section near a proposed commercial development closer to the TX 249 Tollway. The unpopular tollroad, for which Riley has been the primary backer, includes an overpass bridge that would connect WPX to the TX 249 Tollway in order to bring traffic from The Woodlands onto the questionably sub-economic tollroad. Original traffic and revenue projections for the TX 249 Tollway in 2014 counted upon construction of WPX by 2022 in order to bring traffic to the TX 249 Tollway. Neither Riley nor Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal have ever released the full traffic and revenue study for TX 249 which includes all of the assumptions behind the traffic count projections contained therein.
Riley’s Precinct 2 budget, as well as funds he receives from other road funding sources, and the Woodlands Land Development Company would fund portions of WPX that WiMP did not finance.
Eissler reiterated some comments he made in his initial interview with The Golden Hammer, “Our board doesn’t know about it.” Eissler serves as the salaried President of WiMP as well as its contractually-paid lobbyist.
The Woodlands Land Development Company is moving forward with a highly-priced traffic projection study with Brown & Gay Engineers, the same engineering firm that provided the south Montgomery County Mobility Plan to Noack’s Precinct 3 Office.
Neither Weems nor representatives of Woodlands Land Development Company have responded to telephone calls.