State Committee Okays Bill To Require ‘Certain Counties’ To Vote on Astrodome Parking Garage-ification

STATE COMMITTEE OKAYS BILL TO REQUIRE ‘CERTAIN COUNTIES’ TO VOTE ON ASTRODOME PARKING GARAGE-IFICATION Proposed Astrodome Parking Garage PlansThe Texas senate’s committee on intergovernmental relations gave an early stamp of approval to that bill that would require Harris County to hold a vote on the plan recently set in motion to turn the Astrodome’s sunken field into an underground parking garage, Mihir Zaveri notes in the Chronicle this morning. The bill’s language doesn’t explicitly single out the Dome and the county commissioners; it would just mandate that “certain counties” — those with a population of 3.3 million or more — would need to call a vote on work related to “certain sports facilities” if the price tag of a given project reaches $10 million — namely, those sports facilities already more than 50 years old when the bill passes. (Harris County, with a population estimated around 4.5 million, is the only Texas county that comes remotely close to passing the bill’s size threshold.) [Houston Chronicle; Texas Legislature; previously on Swamplot] Schematic of Astrodome parking plan: Harris County Engineering Dept.

10 Comment

  • If this passes maybe the GOP can finally find someone to challenge Whitmire in the next election!

  • Does the state actually have a dog in this race? Because by the weasel wording, it is as though they are pretending that no one will overhear the machinations. What’s really behind Senator Whitmire’s objections? I’m not seeing the point of this.

  • Why is my urban inner city senate district full of nothing but rednecks?
    If our senate is full of seniles who can’t draw a straight line then we got way bigger problems at hand.

  • @Chuck, I think Joan Huffman and Paul Bettancourt are giving Whitmire support on this. Why they are supporting Whitmire instead of Ed Emmett is anyone’s guess, but between this and SB2 Bettancourt really seems hell bent to kick Harris County in the nuts every chance he gets. All the more outrageous since there are large swaths of his District in unincorporated Harris County.
    @Walker – Without GOP support Whitmire’s bill would go nowhere. I’d rather see a sane Republican challenge Bettancourt next time around. Sadly, however, sane Republicans don’t tend to vote in primaries. Sigh.

  • Good! Let’s vote to year down this eyesore a 3rd time and see how Mr. Emmet saves it yet again.

  • I am happy to see that Whitmire’s bill is moving along – but it still has a long way to go before final passage. If the county judge won’t listen to reason and the implied voice of the people through the prior ballot fail, then this bill may be a bit more blunt. Sometimes, crazy has to be fought with crazy. (Unfortunately.)
    @ Chuck: As for the squishy language, I think this is done due to our state constitution – if we single out a county by name, it becomes a local bill and may require a constitutional amendment. Keeping it more generic means that it can apply statewide and doesn’t require a constitutional amendment election. The generic framework is used in all types of Legislature bills.

  • @Mitch, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but there’s never been a vote to tear it down.

  • Whitmire’s bill is living proof a blind hog finds an acorn from time to time.

  • The Dome is a Houston landmark and a repurposing would mostly benefit the city. Look at the voting map of the last election and it’s clear the city wants to keep it and judge Emmett is working hard in the spirit of what HOUSTON wants. It’s unfortunate that a bunch of suburbanites with no regard for anything that’s not shiny new get a say in this. Most of whom have never been inside the dome to see an event. I didn’t get a vote on the construction of the Grand parkway, never driven on it, and yet it is a taxpayer funded structure that doesn’t benefit me, as the dome is to them.

  • The dome is technically the Harris County Domed Stadium and as such belongs to the county, not the city, so it’s only natural that the Harris Co suburbanites should have a say in its destiny.