Houston, TX -- Today, the Houston City Council voted in favor an ordinance that will promote the development of new recreational green spaces and hike and bike trails in Houston. Utilizing the authorization language found in House Bill 200, authored by State Representatives Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) and Jim Murphy (R-Houston), the City of Houston and CenterPoint Energy were able to reach an agreement that will enhance neighborhood quality of life and save taxpayer dollars.
"Throughout my career in the Texas House of Representatives I have always focused on two things--improving local quality of life and saving tax dollars--and this ordinance accomplishes both," Rep. Bohac said. "When you live in the fourth largest city in the country, land resources are limited, costly and difficult to acquire. With miles of unused real estate directly below power lines throughout Harris County, it only makes sense to co-opt this existing green space for hiking and biking trails, and because of the generosity of CenterPoint there will be virtually no cost to the city for the land."
HB 200, which was passed during the 2013 legislative session, assists in the development of hike and bike trails in Harris County by encouraging electric utility companies to enter into recreational use agreements with cities for the use of the utility's land and protection from liability and frivolous lawsuits. CenterPoint has approximately 140 miles of right-of-way that sit below power lines and that land is largely unused. Using HB 200, the City of Houston's agreement will allow for the development of miles of trails to help connect the existing and planned bayou trails.
"Having worked on this issue since 2007, this agreement illustrates how a public/private partnership can operate and the benefits that can result," said Rep. Bohac. "I was encouraged by Chuck Davidson in the Spring Shadows HOA to pursue this public policy, and I did. Some of my best bill ideas come from constituents.”
"I am proud to work with District A City Council Member Brenda Stardig, the Mayor's office and private entities, like CenterPoint, on continuing to improve local quality of life in our community. Common sense solutions like this are what help maintain property values, enhance public safety, encourage business development and make our area THE place for families to choose to raise their children."
On November 6, 2012, Representative Dwayne Bohac was re-elected to represent House District 138. He is a small businessman and lifelong District 138 resident.