By Mary Alys Cherry
The past few weeks have been busy days for the Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership, starting with a visit to Houston City Hall, where Mayor Sylvester Turner, Councilman Dave Martin and City Council passed a proclamation honoring BayTran for its 25 years of service to the community.
Board members taking part in the ceremony with President Barbara Koslov and Chairman David Hamilton included Carl Joiner, Karen Coglianese, Marcy Fryday, Mary Alys Cherry, Natalie Picha, Brian Doherty and John Martinec.
Then after luncheons featuring Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough and Texas Department of Transportation District Engineer Quincy Allen, Port of Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther presented the State of the Port Address, drawing one of the largest crowds of the year.
Among his audience were Mayors Stephen DonCarlos of Baytown, Jon Keeney of Taylor Lake Village, Tom Ramsey of Spring Valley Village, Glenn Royal of Seabrook, Carl Joiner of Kemah, Tom Reid of Pearland, Louis Rigby of La Porte and Michel Bechtel of Morgan’s Point, Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark, Chambers County Commissioner Rusty Senac, State Rep. Dennis Paul, Pearland City Manager Clay Pearson and a number of city councilors including Dave Martin and Mike Knox of Houston.
Guenther, who was introduced by Port Commissioner John Kennedy, told how the Port had grown, creating 148,000 new jobs since 2011 and that it has an economic impact of $265 billion or 16 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. This year it set a new record, he said, handling two million containers and solidifying its position as the leading container port on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The Port is No. 1 in foreign tonnage in the country and second in the U.S. in total tonnage – moving 200 million tons of cargo through the Port each year. “We also had a record day in January with 5,000 transactions in one day.”
As for the Panama Canal, the Houston Ship Channel dredging project is done and the Port is ready for the big boats to come calling. Then he added, “we’re really proud of what we’re doing.”
At the close of the luncheon, it was announced that BayTran President Barbara Koslov would soon be leaving her post to join the staff of Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.