Seventh annual Northeast Tarrant Transportation Summit to feature Perryman, transportation leaders

Northeast Transportation Summit

Friday, Feb. 19

8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Hurst Conference Center

- FWBP Digital Partners -

1600 Campus Drive


Now in its seventh year, the Northeast Tarrant Transportation Summit has grown to become one of the premier transportation events in Texas. With attendance eclipsing 600 people during last year’s half-day program, the Northeast Tarrant Transportation Summit is one of the largest gatherings that showcases a variety of distinguished presenters and panelists discussing the future of transportation in Tarrant County, the state of Texas and the United States as a whole.

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On Friday, Feb. 19, at the Hurst Conference Center, industry experts and thought leaders will provide important dialogue and expert analysis regarding local, state and federal transportation decisions and their impact on Tarrant County as well as the North Texas region (and beyond).

Transportation issues have a great effect on our quality of life, especially in Tarrant County – one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions. Beyond the time that sitting in traffic takes away from the hours we’d rather be spending with our families, the issue has deeper implications for economic development, air quality and our health and safety.

As our community continues to grow, mobility will be a chief concern as it pertains to the sustainability and enhancement of our quality of life. The Northeast Tarrant Transportation Summit provides one of the region’s best opportunities for ongoing discussion and proposed solutions to our most pressing transportation problems.

This year’s event promises to be one of the best to date with another stellar collection of presenters and panelists discussing how the current economic issues may affect transportation funding models; the potential for enhanced international trade opportunities from an expanded Panama Canal and how this could impact the Texas economy; and how the recent completion of numerous highway projects, and population growth, is affecting many local city arterials and infrastructure, and what these cities are doing to address the issue.

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Our featured keynote speaker is Ray Perryman, president and CEO of The Perryman Group, an economic research and analysis firm. Perryman, who was named the 2012 Texan of the Year, will address “Transportation as an Economic Driver” and how the economy in Texas is faring under current market conditions.

Perryman will comment on how the current energy market may affect the two constitutional amendments passed by voters that authorized the Legislature to allocate money from the Rainy Day Fund, and revenue from sales and use taxes annually to be dedicated to the State Highway Fund, to help fund transportation projects. Despite the energy slowdown, which has altered some of the state’s sales tax collection, Perryman will address how Texas is positioned to have the necessary funds in place.

We have put together a leading group of transportation specialists and economic influencers to discuss the current state of transportation in our region and the short- and long-term outlook for infrastructure improvement and expansion.

Michael Morris, director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, will moderate a panel on “Will Transportation Measures Deliver on Their Promise?”, featuring Ed Ireland, executive director of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, and Victor Vandergriff of the Texas Transportation Commission. This discussion will provide an overview of the current environment of the oil and gas and automobile industries, which have a direct impact on the two recent amendments that were passed to provide new transportation revenue sources. Their perspectives will shed light on whether these revenue sources will provide the impact the Texas Legislature hoped – both for the short and long term.

Dan Harmon, maritime division director for the Texas Department of Transportation, will detail the “Impact of the Panama Canal on Our Region’s Mobility,” which will provide an overview of Panama Canal initiatives for Texas and what the impact will be on Texas ports – who could benefit and how expanded port trade might alter interstate transport, rail and logistics – and an overview of an economic opportunity that many of us don’t know too much about.

Beyond the broader transportation issues, we’re also going to discuss what’s happening here at home. While we’ve heard a lot about what is being done to improve our highways in recent years, we haven’t had too many opportunities to hear from our local leaders about the status of transportation in our municipalities. With the exponential growth we’re experiencing, how are city streets and county-wide roads measuring up, and what are local governments doing to stay ahead of the curve?

Mary Martin Frazior, president and CEO of the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Chamber of Commerce, will serve as moderator for this panel featuring Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, North Richland Hills Mayor Oscar Trevino, Colleyville Mayor Pro Tem Mike Taylor and Haslet Mayor Pro Tem Warren Robb as they discuss “The Status of Transportation Projects in Northeast Tarrant County and What is Our Next Big Challenge?”

We are confident that this year’s Northeast Tarrant Transportation Summit will provide a wealth of information regarding the future of transportation in North Texas. We are also privileged to have some of the state’s prominent decision-makers on the economy and transportation share their thoughts and analysis, making this Northeast Tarrant Transportation Summit one not to miss.

Gary Fickes is Tarrant County commissioner for Precinct 3.