Montgomery County Precinct 2, May 17 – Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley blew up the tiny remainder of his integrity today with outright lies about three major road extensions Riley himself had placed on the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) Major Thoroughfare Plan in 2016, one year after voters rejected the proposed Woodlands Parkway Extension (WPX) in a May, 2015, bond referendum. Riley was trying to respond to the story The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, broke earlier today that Riley put into the HGAC Plan his proposal to extend Gosling Road through the W.G. Jones State Forest.
Riley’s lies were awful in light of statements he made on videotape in candidate forums and in an article where the Community Impact interviewed Riley on the exact same topic on May 4, 2016.
On May 9, 2015, Montgomery County voters rejected a bond referendum with 57.19% of the vote “Against” because the proposal included a Woodlands Parkway Extension (WPX). Voters in Commissioners Precinct 2 (Riley) and 3 (Noack) overwhelmingly rejected WPX in the vote.
A year later after Montgomery County voters had already rejected the proposed WPX project, Riley was Montgomery County’s representative on the Houston-Galveston Area Council in 2016 when he proposed the three projects for inclusion in the HGAC’s 2016 Major Thoroughfare Plan: (1) WPX, (2) the Branch Crossing Extension to widen that road and run an extension of it through the middle of Alden Bridge in The Woodlands to F.M. 1488, and (3) the Gosling Road Extension through the W.G. Jones State Forest at F.M. 1488 northward to State Highway 105. HGAC accepted Riley’s recommendation, as did its Transportation Policy Council (on which Riley also serves).
On May 17, 2018, this newspaper broke the story about the fact that Riley included the Gosling Road Extension to plow directly through the W.G. Jones State Forest. All three of the following articles include the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016 Map, which Riley included for the three road projects:
- Branch Crossing Extension article: “Charlie Pushes Thoroughly Major Thoroughfare “Nuclear Bombshells” Right Through The Woodlands, Part 1 Of 2,” The Golden Hammer, April 10, 2018.
- Woodlands Parkway Extension article: “Montgomery County Commissioner Precinct 2 Voters Should Expect Riley To Proceed With The Woodlands Parkway Extension If He’s Re-Elected,” The Golden Hammer, May 15, 2018.
- Gosling Road Extension through W.G. Jones State Forest article: “Breaking News: Riley Intends To Plow Through W.G. Jones State Forest With Major Thoroughfare Extension Of Gosling Road,” The Golden Hammer, May 18, 2018.
Charlie versus Charlie
On May 4, 2016, the Community Impact Newspaper, another publication, published a story entitled “Planning continues as road bond projects move forward,” May 4, 2016. The article concerned the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016 as well as the road projects list which eventually passed in a November, 2015, road bond referendum which excluded Riley’s WPX. The link to the article is https://communityimpact.com/houston/tomball-magnolia/news/2016/05/04/planning-continues-road-bond-projects-move-forward/.
While the article had some interesting information about the terrible progress Riley was making on the road bond projects for Precinct 2, what was even more interesting were Riley’s comments about the Branch Crossing Extension and the Gosling Road Extension that he slated to plow through the W.G. Jones State Forest.
Here’s what Riley said on May 4, 2016, as another newspaper reported and quoted him: “Riley said thoroughfares, such as Gosling Road and Branch Crossing Drive extensions, are needed for public safety.”
Charlie Riley quoted on May 4, 2016: “Riley said thoroughfares, such as Gosling Road and Branch Crossing Drive extensions, are needed for public safety.”
Granted, that’s not a direct quote from the man himself. But the next paragraph was: “‘The extension of Gosling [and] the extension of Old Conroe Road [where the Branch Crossing extension would come out to F.M. 1488] – all of those will help safety and mobility,’ Riley said. ‘They have been on the thoroughfare plan since 1979, so why oppose it now? It is too late to be concerned about it, and they are north of FM 1488. It is in our precinct.'”
Charlie Riley quoted on May 4, 2016: “The extension of Gosling [and] the extension of Old Conroe Road [where the Branch Crossing extension would come out to F.M. 1488] – all of those will help safety and mobility…They have been on the thoroughfare plan since 1979, so why oppose it now? It is too late to be concerned about it, and they are north of FM 1488. It is in our precinct.”
Charlie’s desperation Facebook ad today
Now that Charlie is facing the voters, he’s temporarily changing his tune. We say “temporarily” as you’ll see later in this article. Riley came out today, May 17, 2018, with a static advertisement as well as a video where he denies that he has ever supported WPX, the Branch Crossing Extension, or the extension of Gosling Road. Here it is:
Unfortunately, for Riley, however, these facts that Riley still supports all three controversial projects are not “last minute lies.” Riley himself made similar comments earlier this year in which he made clear that WPX is still a project he supports and that he would not remove it from the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan for Commissioners Precinct 2.
Just recently, two documents surfaced publicly which reiterate Riley’s intention to build WPX despite overwhelming opposition from the citizens in his Precinct 2 as well as in the rest of south Montgomery County. First, there’s a plan detail for the TX 249 Tollway, which shows that Riley instructed the engineers – major contributors to Riley’s criminal legal defense fund – to include a bridge and exit for WPX to connect to the tollroad, although under the plans its shown as “Woodtrace Boulevard.” The HGAC Major Thoroughfare map at the top of this article shows that Woodtrace Boulevard and WPX are one and the same.
An even more recent map, which Riley sought to hide from the public and from his colleagues on the Commissioners Court, contains the engineering plans for the TX 249 Tollway. Those plans, which Montgomery County Engineer Mark Mooney signed on January 23, 2018, also show a connector for TX 249 Tollway to WPX.
Riley chimes in to support WPX at the January 23, 2018, candidate forum
Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley debated his two challengers, a local businessman and Republican activist and also former Comal County Commissioner Gregory Parker, whom Riley now faces in the May 22 Republican Runoff Election, at the Texas Patriots Tea Party PAC candidate debate last on January 23, 2018, at the Woodlands Mall. Riley had a very rough evening.
Riley tried to confuse the issue about whether he supported the WPX, but his answer eventually was loud and clear. First, Riley accused one of his challengers 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.” In other words, Riley doesn’t seem to care about mobility. Rather, Riley’s sole outlook with respect to mobility planning for Commissioners Precinct 2 is whether roads will help to make his precious TX 249 Tollway “viable.”
Less than three minutes later, however, the moderator asked “Do you believe the Woodlands Parkway Extension should be removed from the [HGAC] 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, as the picture from the HGAC Plan at the top of this article reveals.
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 and surrounding areas) and Commissioners Precinct 3 (The Woodlands) staunchly rejected WPX.
May 17, 2018, versus the rest of Charlie Riley’s life
Let’s briefly look at Riley’s debate against himself: