Local Ambassadors Talk Transportation

The Chamber of Commerce delegation in Washington, DC, was targeting transportation Wednesday.

In order to maintain growth in the Brazos Valley, the group argued the area must have direct access to a major interstate. They’re asking lawmakers to expand Highway 21 to I-45 and consider southern Brazos County for the I-69 corridor.

“It’s a long term program, it’s not the kind of thing that’s going to happen overnight, but if we don’t have community leaders from the Brazos Valley fighting for the interests of our area, then we know we’ll get left out in the cold,” said Congressman Chet Edwards (D-District 17).

From the highways to the skies, air travel is riding on the wings of the looming battle over the Wright Amendment. The mayors of both Bryan and College Station have joined a coalition contesting the repeal of the law, which could force American to cut services to Easterwood Airport.

“We really rely on it more than people realize with Texas A&M and our business community. It’s much quicker to be able to fly out of Easterwood than it is to drive to some distant airport,” said Bryan Mayor Ernie Wentrcek.

And while Edwards has yet to pick a side, the delegation’s plea isn’t falling on deaf ears.

“I think they’re making a very good case about how we would lose air service in Central Texas if American is forced to compete both at Love Field and D/FW,” said Edwards.

The United States Post Office is considering combining Bryan’s mail service with Houston. That change would cause the relocation of some local jobs and increased delivery time.

“Basically it’s going to add a day of service to your mail,” said Tim Hurley, president of the American Postal Workers Union in Bryan. “Any outgoing mail, which is mail that leaves here and goes anywhere in the United States, would take at least an extra day and sometimes three or four days to get there.”

“You’re talking about running 100,000 to 125,000 pieces of mail a day through our operation right now, which to them is not a big number. But as far away as we are from Houston, that guarantees we can never get overnight service again, “ said Hurley.

On Thursday, the delegation will meet with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. It’s their last chance to be heard before heading home to the Brazos Valley.