Vice-chair of state Transportation Committee to speak at Friday forum in Commerce

From Staff Reports

July 31, 2008 - The future of transportation in the Northeast Texas region will be the focus of a forum scheduled for Friday morning at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

The Third Annual Northeast Texas Mobility Council Transportation Forum will get under way at 8 a.m. at the university's Memorial Student Center with remarks by Scotty Stegall, mayor of the city of Cooper.

Those who have not registered in advance for the transportation meeting, which is free and open to the public, may register for the session starting at 7:15 a.m.

The transportation forum will feature six other speakers discussing a variety of topics.

The first session will cover "Hot Topics in the Region" and will include guest speakers Dan Kessler, assistant director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments; Nick Grant, field intelligence liaison for the Transportation Security Administration Office of Intelligence; and Bobby Littlefield, a Sulphur Springs native and now Paris District Engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation.

A 15-minute break is scheduled for 9:45 a.m., followed by a presentation on "Transportation Funding" by Texas Department of Transportation Chief Financial Officer James Bass. Also scheduled to speak on the subject are David Casteel, assistant executive director for district operations with TxDoT, and Phillip Russell, TxDoT's assistant executive director for innovative project development.

A question-and-answer session on local transportation issues will precede a noon luncheon featuring remarks from State Rep. Larry Phillips, vice-chairman of the Texas House of Representatives Transportation Committee. Stegall will provide the final remarks at 1 p.m. to close the forum.

Last year's forum brought more than 150 business and community leaders, transportation officials, state and federal officials and others interested in the growth of the region to the Commerce campus for discussions on legislative updates, regional mobility authorities, economic development and the Trans-Texas Corridor.

The Northeast Texas Regional Mobility Council was formed in 2001 with representatives from Hopkins, Hunt, Lamar and Delta counties to work toward improving area roads and highways.

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