The Woodlands, January 24 – During the Texas Patriots Tea Party PAC Candidates Forum last night, both Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley and Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal confirmed their support for construction of the Woodlands Parkway Extension (WPX), which Montgomery County voters – especially in The Woodlands and Magnolia – soundly defeated in a May 2015 road bond referendum. Interestingly, during the Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting earlier in the day yesterday, Doyal attempted to deny his support for WPX which he then admitted only 9 hours later.
Doyal’s January 23, 2018, Commissioners Court outburst
At the conclusion of the January 23, 2018, Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting, the Publisher of The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper made a pointed citizen comment in which he, among other items, criticized Doyal because “you [Doyal] have the power to build the WPX and it sounds as though you’re going to fund part of it with the tollroad but you’re ignoring citizens’ concerns about it.”
Doyal responded angrily,
“Mr. Yollick I would refer you to Mr. Dubois [editor of the struggling Courier blog] who was moderating the debate held where you misconstrued my comments and get your facts straight, please.”
9 hours later, however, at the Texas Patriots Tea Party PAC candidate debate, Doyal and Riley confirmed their support of WPX, as Montgomery County Judge candidate Mark Keough made clear that part of the $73 million, 3.6 mile, Tx 249 Tollway would include a bridge and grade separation that was the beginning of Wood Trace Boulevard, the new name for WPX!
Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley debated his two challengers, local businessman and Republican activist Brian Dawson and former Comal County Commissioner Gregory Parker, at the Texas Patriots Tea Party PAC candidate debate last night at the Woodlands Mall. Riley had a very rough evening, about which The Golden Hammer shall report in the near future.
Riley tried to confuse the issue about whether he supported the WPX, but his answer eventually was loud and clear. First, Riley accused challenger Dawson of supporting WPX previously. Riley told the crowd, “Whatever you want to call it, Mansions Way will be built over to Dobbin Huffsmith Road. I’m not going to tie it into Woodlands Parkway. 249 doesn’t have to have Woodlands Parkway to be viable.”
Less than three minutes later, however, the moderator asked “Do you believe the Woodlands Parkway Extension should be removed from the major thoroughfare plan” This question was important, because even after Montgomery County voters – led by voters in Magnolia and The Woodlands – rejected the May 2015 road bond referendum with WPX on it, in 2016 Riley and Doyal snuck WPX onto the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s “major thoroughfare plan” under a different name, “Wood Trace Boulevard.” Wood Trace Boulevard, however, clearly is WPX.
Riley’s answer to the question about WPX was quite illuminating:
“No, I don’t believe it [WPX or Woodtrace Boulevard] should be removed from the Thoroughfare Plan, because the developers on the west side need it. It needs to stay on there!”
In other words, Riley still supports WPX because some real estate developers “need it” even though the voters in his own Commissioners Precinct 2 (Magnolia area) and Commissioners Precinct 3 (The Woodlands) staunchly rejected WPX.
An hour later came Doyal’s turn to debate State Representative Mark Keough, the Republican who is running against the establishment liberal incumbent County Judge. Keough noted that WPX and grade separations for its contruction are included on the letting schedule for the Texas Department of Transportation.
“It’s no longer called Woodlands Parkway Extension but called Wood Trace. In 2016 we see the actual road comes off Woodlands Parkway. It’s there because they anticipate that taking place. Forget about what the people of Montgomery County want. They claim they’re making a ‘hard decision’ about what is the right thing to do. There is a plan [to build WPX] to continue. He [Doyal] told us this road is going to be built.”
In response, Doyal admitted WPX would move forward even though only 9 hours earlier in Commissioners Court he denied it:
“Where Woodlands Parkway is proposed to come out [on the major thoroughfare plan], Woodtrace it’s there today. It’s not Woodlands Parkway. It’s an overpass for the road. Do I think Woodlands Parkway will be built at some point? Yes. 2 years, 5 years, Woodlands Parkway will be extended to 249!” (Emphasis added.)
The moderator then asked, “Should the Woodlands Parkway Extension be removed from the thoroughfare plan?”
Doyal’s response was shocking:
“I don’t think so. In 2006, I got a resolution from the mobility committee of the Woodlands Chamber of Commerce to purchase parcels along the route of where Woodlands Parkway Extension should be. It’s been on the major thoroughfare plan. At some point we will need to continue east-west mobility to that side of Montgomery County from where Woodlands Parkway goes to 2978.” (Emphasis added.)
Keough noted, “He just verified it. Even though the people said this is a mistake. That is not representative government. The document shows the extension of Woodlands Parkway…and the grade separation [as part of the Tx 249 Tollway].”