Biennial Austin Trip for B/CS Leaders

Local leaders took key area issues to Austin Wednesday. The Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce makes an biennial visit to the state capitol to talk with elected officials and their staffs.

Among the top items, as usual, was transportation, including improvements and expansion of major area roads.

"The main push right now is to get four lane access into Bryan/College Station from north, south, east and west," said Bryan Mayor Mark Conlee. "Obviously, we made some progress south. We're making some progress in different areas."

Construction in south Brazos County continues, but leaders made pushes for further construction on roads leading to interstates.

Bryan/College Station is one of the larger corners of the country without direct interstate access. Local leaders were among the few voices in favor of bringing the Trans Texas Corridor towards the Twin Cities. The project has now been altered to utilize existing roads, and Brazos County is not in the path.

High speed rail was also a point of emphasis, as the area looks to get in on a possible "Texas T-Bone" plan that would hit the four major cities in Texas.

Also discussed was spending money on creating statewide redundancy for the electrical grid. During Hurricane Ike, numerous power companies were affected, but because some were not connected to the expansive ERCOT grid, power could not be provided from other sources.

B/CS leaders believe backups should be in place for catastrophic incidents so power can be provided to communities in need.

Blinn College's growth made the delegation's list of priorities, especially the expansion of a workforce development program to provide training for technical jobs that might not require a college degree.

"We need it badly," said Blinn President Daniel Holt. "We're going to need it badly to not only help our students, but to build up this workforce effort, and community colleges are the driving force."

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