Image: On January 26, 2016, Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack responded to Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley’s comments in favor of the Woodlands Parkway Extension, “I can assure you and the people of The Woodlands that…it [Woodlands Parkway Extension] will never happen as long as I’m sitting here.” Riley immediately answered, “We’ll see about that.”
Conroe, June 2 – On May 22, 2018, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley declared war against the law enforcement community in the morning when he refused to vote for two mundane budget-neutral proposals of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office during the Commissioners Court meeting. That same night, Riley declared war against conservative Republican Precinct Chairs in his Commissioners Precinct 2 when he made clear that he wanted to rid the County of those conservative leaders during Riley’s victory speech for the May 22 Republican Runoff Election.
It turns out, however, the Riley has been at war with The Woodlands over the Woodlands Parkway Extension for two years even after the 2015 bond referendum where voters in Magnolia and The Woodlands rejected the proposal for that major thoroughfare. Riley is clearly pitting Magnolia to war against The Woodlands along with him.
During the May 22 Republican Runoff Election, Riley claimed that he is not building the Woodlands Parkway Extension (WPX) but his comments were precisely that, a word play using the present tense that “I am not building the WPX.” Riley actually never said that he wouldn’t build WPX in the future. In fact, during a candidate forum in January, 2018, before the Texas Patriots PAC meeting, Riley argued that the developers west of F.M. 2978 need the WPX so Riley refused to remove the unpopular road from the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s (HGAC) Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016.
Riley actually sat on the HGAC Transportation Council which drafted the Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016 report to include WPX and other controversial roads in south Montgomery County.
It’s important to remember, however that all of these discussions have occurred after voters rejected WPX in the May, 2015, road bond referendum. The most important of those discussions occurred in the Commissioners Court on January 26, 2016, when HGAC’s Chief Transportation Planner Thomas Gray presented the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016 for the Commissioners Court’s approval.
During Gray’s presentation, he noted that there were four public meetings on the Major Thoroughfare Plan where HGAC received favorable comments for it. At the end of Gray’s presentation, Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack (R-The Woodlands) asked Gray where HGAC held the four meetings. Gray explained the meetings had occurred at Conroe Tower in Conroe, at Magnolia High School in Magnolia, at the City of Shenandoah Municipal Complex, and at the New Caney Library.
Noack noted, “I can assure you that if the meeting were held in The Woodlands you would not get support for the Woodlands Parkway Extension.”
At that point, County Judge Craig Doyal asked if there were a motion. Riley moved to accept the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016 and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark seconded the motion.
Noack clarified that the pending motion was only to “accept” the HGAC Plan rather than to “approve it.” Doyal acquiesced.
Noack then said, “I think we need to remove Woodlands Parkway Extension from the Major Thorough Plan.”
Riley could not have been more clear in his response in support of WPX: “I think it needs to stay right where it’s at, because you had the meeting at Magnolia and Magnolia wants the Woodlands Parkway Extension.”
Charlie Riley, January 26, 2016: “I think it needs to stay right where it’s at, because you had the meeting at Magnolia and Magnolia wants the Woodlands Parkway Extension.”
Noack answered back, “I can assure you that the people in The Woodlands don’t want it. I can assure you and the people in the Woodlands that…it will never happen as long as I’m sitting here.”
Riley ominously responded, “We’ll see about that.”
Doyal sided with Riley to endorse WPX, “I’ve got a proclamation from the South County Chamber Mobility Committee in 2006 asking that I acquire the right of way for that project which I did as Commissioner, so I fully support the project.”
Noack retorted, “And the voters overwhelmingly rejected it.”
Sadly, for some strange reason, Noack voted along with the remaining members of the Commissioners Court to “accept” the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016 which included WPX (as well as the Branch Crossing Extension and the Gosling Road Extension through the W.G. Jones State Forest).
It’s unclear what the difference is between “accepting” and “approving” a plan of that nature, particularly since Montgomery County Engineer Mark Mooney shows that the Commissioners Court “adopted” the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016 on January 26, 2016.
What is clear, however, is that Charlie Riley and Craig Doyal continue to support the construction of the Woodlands Parkway Extension, as part of Riley’s war against The Woodlands (and law enforcement and conservative Republican Precinct Chairs.)