The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, November 18 – The Montgomery County Commissioners Court will have the chance on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, to relieve the citizens from Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley’s excessive absenteeism, which has cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, from his duties as the County government’s representative on the Transportation Policy Council (TPC) of the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC). The TPC is the regional organization, comprised of local government entities from across the Greater Houston area, that determines how to distribute federal and state road and highway funds for local projects.
The opportunity will come to replace Riley on the TPC during the Regular Meeting of the Commissioners Court at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Riley currently holds the position of Montgomery County Representative to the TPC, but he rarely shows up for the meetings and even more rarely participates. Riley’s absence has likely cost Montgomery County citizens hundreds of millions of dollars of federal and state road and bridge funds paid in taxes to the United States Government and to the State of Texas but not returned to the taxpayers for their intended purposes.
To make matters worse, Riley is now beginning to talk about his desire to have a road bond election in the near future, even though he personally is the reason Montgomery County is so far behind in receiving funds for road projects, particularly in Commissioners Precinct 2, which Riley has turned into a mobility mess.
Riley’s Precinct 2 roads are in the worst condition of any Commissioner Precinct in Montgomery County. Mobility problems abound, because Riley and his predecessor, Craig Doyal, have failed to address them over the span of two decades.
Riley’s entire focus is to make happy real estate developers and engineers who contribute money to him. Therefore, on August 20, Riley excitedly announced, “I’m very excited that we’re building Mansions Way to connect The Woodlands to Highway 249.” Riley’s singular focus as a Commissioner has been to build the $95 million TX 249 Tollway, 3.1 miles long, and to funnel traffic to that road as quickly as possible. With that road, also known as the “Decimation of Hope Highway,” Montgomery County residents will have the opportunity to pay exorbitant tolls to drive directly to Todd Mission, Texas, in Grimes County.
Riley has intended to build the Woodlands Parkway Extension which will begin at the intersection of F.M. 2978 and Woodlands Parkway. Due to political pressure against the construction of that road, however, Riley will first build a connector at Mansions Way, about one-third of a mile away from Woodlands Parkway. Meanwhile, Riley, The Woodlands Development Company, and Westwood Magnolia Parkway Improvement District (WIMPit) procured an engineering study from Brown and Gay Engineers for the engineering work to complete the full Woodlands Parkway Extension.
Riley told the Republican Women on August 20, “If WPX gets done, it won’t be me, I promise you that.” In a literal sense, Riley was telling the truth. Actually, Riley made arrangements for WIMPit to take the lead on the construction of the Woodlands Parkway Extension eventually.
Where Riley really revealed his foolishness came in his comments about his work on the TPC which Riley received the Commissioners Court appointment to serve as the representative of Montgomery County.
Riley told the Republican Women, “I’m very proud of my work on the HGAC. We just finished the 2025 Major Thoroughfare Plan for Greater Houston.”
More than any of his other failings, Riley’s poor work and attendance on the TPC is where Montgomery County citizens have suffered the most.
Tiny Liberty County fared better in receiving federal highway funds from HGACTPC, as the data reveals. Montgomery County only received $25 million of approved projects, while Liberty County received more than twice that amount, $54 million, and Galveston County received almost four times that amount, $91 million. In fact, Montgomery County received a smaller amount of funds than any of the counties who sought such funding.
When Republican Precinct Chairman David Smith confronted Riley during an August 20 meeting during a question-and-answer period, Riley tried to explain that Montgomery County just didn’t have any projects to submit. Riley said, “We don’t have any other projects on that plan.”
Smith responded in the meeting, “Montgomery County submitted $198 million of projects but they didn’t get selected.”
Riley then tried to explain, “It’s a cat fight down there.”
Usually, in a “cat fight,” the cats show up to fight, but Charlie didn’t
Fundamentally, as Smith’s data, which he compiled from HGAC attendance records, reveals, Riley didn’t show up for many of the fights among HGAC Transportation Policy Council members for federal highway funds.
HGACTPC has had seven meetings during 2019. Riley actually only participated in three of them. Riley missed the meetings in April, May, and June entirely. Those meetings were the primary meetings where the HGACTPC divvied up federal highway dollars.
At the most recent meeting, Riley attended the roll call, but he left the meeting immediately thereafter when citizens began to make comments. Riley didn’t return to the meeting.
Riley simply isn’t doing his job. Riley is the cause of poor mobility in Precinct 2, West Montgomery County. His failure to fight for Montgomery County to receive federal highway funds clearly will lead to poor mobility Countywide.
Magnolia Area Republican Women: Charlie opens mouth, inserts foot again
On August 19, Riley spoke at the Magnolia Area Republican Women’s meeting. He said he wants an expensive road bond for voters to approve, but, of course, he didn’t mention that his failure to attend HGAC meetings has cost Montgomery County $175 million.
A citizen in the audience asked Riley, “Have you been able to attend all of the meetings of HGAC to get us federal and state funds? If you haven’t, has it cost us money to help us with our roads?”
Riley answered, “I haven’t made all the meetings, but it hasn’t cost us one nickel…If you knew how it works, you wouldn’t even ask that question…Montgomery County has to submit projects that are ready. We got one project ready that is the Magnolia relief route. No other Commissioner has anything else that’s ready. No one else has a state project that’s ready to go. That’s why we got $25 million over the last two years…”
Riley apparently can’t tell the truth. Montgomery County submitted $198 million of projects ready to go (!) but only received $25 million in funding. Galveston County submitted $4 million of projects for funding but received $91 million in funds, because Galveston County’s representative on the HGACTPC actually showed up for the meetings.
Clearly, it’s time for the Commissioners Court to put someone on the TPC as the County’s Representative who will actually show up.