Skip to main content

Local Priorities

The Greater Houston Partnership works with our city and county leaders to foster a thriving business environment and economic development which is critical to making Houston greater. In order to advance the Houston region, the Greater Houston Partnership supports city and county policies that create a business environment attractive to leading global companies and skilled talent.

Violent Crime and Public Safety

Like many other metropolitan cities across the nation, Houston has been experiencing a recent uptick in criminal and violent activity. Additionally, Harris County is facing over 100,000 in backlogged criminal court cases stemming from the impacts of both Hurricane Harvey's destruction of the criminal court building and the operational disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of these backlogged cases have been sitting unaddressed for close to four years.

Without a functional and timely court system and operating with a sensible bail structure for violent crimes, those who seek to commit these crimes will continue to act with impunity. 

The Greater Houston Partnership is supporting our local leaders as they work to address the increase in violent crimes, improve public safety and providing law enforcement the support they need, and invest critical resources to clear out the backlog of cases.   

Economic Development

The Partnership promotes policies, programs, and investments which encourage inclusive economic development in the greater Houston region and across its major industry sectors, including energy, life sciences, manufacturing and logistics, commercial aerospace and aviation, and digital technology. Economic development initiatives help to maintain a diverse local economy, while creating and retaining jobs, and improving the quality of life of greater Houston.

The Partnership believes competitive economic development tools are critical to bringing new businesses to the region and growing our economy, and the Partnership stands ready to work with all stakeholders and policymakers to develop new opportunities that will serve as economic engines for our region.

KEI Meta - Building Contracts

Infrastructure Opportunities

Congress recently passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which provided $550 billion in new spending for infrastructure projects relating to transportation (including transit, highway, and freight), energy and power grid infrastructure, broadband, electric vehicles, and flood mitigation. This once in a generation opportunity contains over 130 competitive grant opportunities offering a total of $120 billion in project funding. The Partnership works with our public and private partners to develop priorities for the Houston region and strategies to capture resources.

Transportation

Given the interdependency of our regional, national, and international markets, maximizing the region’s economic prosperity depends on efficiently moving goods and people throughout the region. 
 
The Partnership supports the Federal Highway Administration's working with the Texas Department of Transportation, local officials, and complainants to resolve and conclude its evaluation of the I-45 North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP) [link to page]. An expeditious evaluation of the FHWA’s concerns under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related environmental justice issues regarding the NHHIP will allow this critical project to move forward. 

The NHHIP can be a transformative project to alleviate congestion, enhance safety, expand transit options, and address flood mitigation and disaster evacuation needs. While the project is on hold, improvements are challenging to make within the existing Record of Decision and Final Environmental Impact Statement. It is important that existing concerns are evaluated and resolved so that this project can improve mobility, connectivity, air quality and achieve logistical efficiencies, while simultaneously attracting new investment into our region.

The Partnership has long-supported investments in the region's transit infrastructure. The Partnership urged voters' passage of the $3.5 billion METRO Next bond program, and the organization takes an active interest in the program's leveraging of federal funds and implementation.

midyear skyline highway.jpg

Flood Mitigation

Strengthening infrastructure in coastal areas is important, especially when that coastal area is also the Energy Capital of the World. The Partnership supports the construction of a coastal barrier to protect residents and critical industry from the hazards of severe weather events and storm surge. 
 
The Partnership supports the efforts between local officials, the congressional delegation, the Corps, and the non-federal sponsors – the Texas General Land Office and the Gulf Coast Protection District (GCPD) – to move this project forward. 
 
Preventative infrastructure projects, like the Coastal Barrier, can help mitigate the devastation from a catastrophic storm surge and save the tens of billions of dollars in disaster recovery funding by protecting vulnerable communities. Impacts to the Houston Ship Channel alone would disrupt the annual handling of nearly 250 million tons of cargo, over $800 billion in annual economic activity, over three million jobs, and the supply of approximately 60 percent of the nation’s jet fuel and 30 percent of the nation’s gasoline. The coastal barrier is also an investment in our national economic security. The Houston region is home to one of the largest concentrations of refining and petrochemical complexes in the world, and a storm’s direct hit to the unprotected ship channel would have devastating economic consequences across our nation. 
 
Inland, the Partnership champions city and county investments in flood mitigation. The Partnership is a long-time supporter of the 2018 Harris County Flood Control District $2.5 billion bond program. We are pleased that all of the bond program projects have been initiated and support their timely construction. The Partnership urges the adoption by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development of a state Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) mitigation program amendment, which would allocate at least $750 million in resources for flood mitigation projects in Harris County. The Partnership urges increased investment in Harris County and a direct allocation to the City of Houston for CDBG mitigation funds.

Houston Ship Channel Expansion

The Partnership supports the widening and deepening of the Houston Ship Channel to provide safe and efficient transit for each vessel traversing the busiest deep-draft trade waterway in the nation. With the project included in WRDA passed by Congress at the end of 2020 and $142 million in Corps funding included in the agency's FY 2022 work plan, we continue to work collaboratively with local officials, the federal government, Port of Houston Authority, and private industry to ensure the project's completion.

Port of Houston

Houston's Energy Transition

Because of the region’s position as the Energy Capital of the World, the Partnership and its member companies pursue federal policies that invest in Houston’s position in leading the global energy transition and creating high-quality, high-growth jobs. Last fall, the Partnership launched the Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI). Through this initiative, the Partnership embraces the dual challenge of the energy transition by meeting growing global demand for energy while lowering emissions. 
 
Within HETI, the Partnership engages in industry-led working groups across a handful of issues. The work groups leverage Houston’s energy leadership to accelerate global solutions for a low-carbon future. Members collaborate to develop low carbon technologies, including carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), hydrogen, energy storage and innovations associated with the circular economy. Working group members also identify solutions for the decarbonization of industrial assets, capital and funding needs, and university research and innovation ecosystem infrastructure. 
 
There is tremendous business opportunity in addressing the dual challenge through developing and scaling technologies, creating and servicing markets for the global energy mix, and investing in energy priorities. If no action is taken to respond to the changing energy landscape, Houston could lose up to 650,000 jobs in a 1.5 Celsius Pathway that calls for CO2 emissions to drop by 90 percent by 2050. With decisive action for Houston to lead in the energy transition, Houston could gain up to 560,000 additional jobs by 2050.
 
Through leveraging members’ experience and expertise, the Partnership works with local governments to advance the region's energy competitiveness and secure Houston’s position as a leader in the global energy transition. In the City of Houston, the Partnership supported the development of the City's Climate Action Plan and Resilient Houston strategy. The Partnership channeled the business community's voice in the development of these plans. The organization is engaged in the Climate Action Plan development at Harris County.

Green Space & Park Development

To be a more resilient city and improve our region's quality of life, Houston must have thriving parks. The Greater Houston Partnership is active in the 50/50 Park Partners program, alongside Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Houston Parks & Recreation Department, and the Houston Parks Board. The program drives positive social, environmental, and economic change through creating long-term relationships for sustained impact between businesses, communities, and parks.

Learn more about becoming a 50/50 Park Partner

Hermann Park trail crowd

Convening to Make an Impact

The Partnership's impact work happens through Committees, which convene business and community leaders to fuel the growth and vitality of the Houston region. 

Public Policy Updates

Related News

Energy

Infrastructure Investment, Energy Transition Lead Discussion During Partnership D.C. Fly-In

5/4/22
In late April, the Greater Houston Partnership hosted a reputable group of more than 60 business leaders, energy industry experts, and governmental relations professionals in our nation’s capitol to meet with leaders and decision makers working on some of the most important issues facing our nation, state, and region. The 2022 Washington D.C. Fly-In focused on the Houston Energy Transition Initiative and underscored Houston’s position as the Energy Capitol of the World, and the importance of large-scale infrastructure investments for our region, such as the coastal barrier. The Partnership’s President and CEO, Bob Harvey, and the Partnership’s Public Policy Division successfully facilitated discussions reinforcing the Partnership and its member companies as key resources for policymakers on the global energy transition and infrastructure investments.  Throughout the week, the group met with several members of the Texas Congressional Delegation, the White House and Administration officials, and other stakeholders on issues of energy transition, infrastructure, and the economy.   Photos from the Partnership’s D.C. Fly-In from April 2022 are available here.  April 2022: Washington D.C. Fly-In Highlights The 2022 Washington D.C. trip afforded attendees the opportunity for in-person advocacy and engagement through a series of meetings on Capitol Hill and at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which emphasized Houston’s role in leading the world in the low carbon future and strengthening our region for the future.  Washington D.C. Fly-In: By the Numbers:  Over 60 Attendees Three Days: One day on Capitol Hill and two days hosted at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce  Thirteen Congressional Engagements (in order of appearance):  Senator John Cornyn Senator Ted Cruz Representative Al Green  Representative August Pfluger  Representative Lizzie Fletcher  Representative Troy Nehls  Representative Brian Babin  Representative Randy Weber Representative Dan Crenshaw  Representative Jodey Arrington  Representative John Curtis (R-Utah-03)  Representative Sheila Jackson Lee  Representative Kevin Brady  One Briefing with Ukrainian Ambassador Roman Popadiuk One White House Briefing  Two Agency Briefings:  Eric Haxthuasen, Senior Advisor for Climate, Partnerships, and Innovation, USTDA  Lynda Tran, Senior Advisor and Director of Public Engagement, DOT One briefing with Governor Abbott’s Office of State-Federal Relations Four briefings from U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Marty Durbin, President, Global Energy Institute  Curtis Dubay, Senior Economist  John Murphy, Senior Vice President, International Affairs Vince Voci, Vice President, Cyber Policy and Operations Two D.C. based journalist provided insights: Jonathan Martin, National Political Correspondent, New York Times and Abby Livingston, Washington Bureau Chief, Texas Tribune  One Washington Nationals baseball game  The 2022 Washington D.C. Fly-In also provided an opportunity for in-person engagement focused on the energy transition. With the launch of the Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI), the Partnership and its member companies are pursuing federal policies to create high-quality, high-growth jobs. Leveraging members’ expertise, the Partnership works with lawmakers to advance the region’s energy competitiveness and secure Houston’s position as a leader in the global energy transition. Working closely with HETI, the Partnership embraces the dual challenge of the energy transition by meeting growing global demand for energy while lowering emissions. There is a tremendous business opportunity in addressing the dual challenge through developing and scaling technologies, creating, and servicing markets for the global energy mix, and investing in energy priorities. This trip to Capitol Hill further solidified Houston industry as a leader in the energy transition efforts.  Texas as the Best Place to do Business: Texas Tri-City Reception and Dinner Senator John Cornyn and Senator Ted Cruz joined the Greater Houston Partnership, the Dallas Regional Chamber, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, and the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region at a reception Tuesday evening to kickstart the trip.  Senator Cornyn noted that Texas’ economy is back on track after bipartisan efforts were made to address the negative effects of the pandemic.   Senator Cruz highlighted the importance of job growth, remarking that “if energy is prospering and small businesses are prospering, then Texas is prospering.”  Houston Energy Transition Initiative and Congressional Efforts  Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher, a member of the powerful House Committee on Energy and Commerce, highlighted the importance of engagement by Houston’s energy industry and the Partnership as a trusted source of information on the energy transition. Representing the Houston region, Congresswoman Fletcher noted that Houston has the “deep experience and subject matter expertise” to help diversify our energy sources.  The Partnership heard from Congressman John Curtis (R-Utah-03), who chairs the newly formed Conservative Climate Caucus. This climate caucus believes answers can be “found in innovation embraced by the free market,” and that the United States has prevailed as a global leader in reducing emissions to date because “private sector innovation, American resources, and R&D investment has resulted in lower emissions and affordable energy.” See here.  When speaking on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its impact on European energy, Congressman Curtis emphasized that “permanence” is the key element of Europe’s future energy independence.  Lane Stricker, HETI Executive Director, led a fireside chat with John Dabbar, ConocoPhillips’ Managing Director Low Carbon Technologies, discussing the dual challenge of the energy transition by meeting growing global demand for energy while lowering emissions.  Houston Regional Delegation Congressman Kevin Brady, Ranking Member of the influential House Ways & Means Committee, thanked the Partnership and its member companies for the continued support over his 25-year tenure on Capitol Hill. Congressman Brady is retiring at the end of 2022, and he noted that he is “more hopeful than ever” in the future of our region and our State.  The group heard from Congressman Dan Crenshaw on his efforts to bolster our region through his work on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee spoke to the important work she and her congressional colleagues are doing to ensure Houston continues to thrive.  Congressman Al Green also stopped in to thank the Partnership’s member companies and business leaders for their progress and innovation in the Houston region.  Congressman Troy Nehls, Congressman Brian Babin, and Congressman Randy Weber all spoke to the exceptional collaboration amongst Texas’ congressional delegates and how these strong relationships best serve our region.  Friends of Houston  Congressman August Pfluger, U.S. Representative for Texas's 11th Congressional District encompassing Midland and Odessa, expressed his appreciation for the strong relationship between Houston and his region and highlighted his district’s contribution to Texas’ energy security.  The Partnership also heard from Congressman Jodey Arrington, U.S. representative for Texas' 19th Congressional District encompassing Lubbock and Abilene, on the importance of American energy independence.  Infrastructure Policy: The Coastal Spine and Transportation  The group heard from Coalter Baker, Deputy Director of the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations, who emphasized the importance of local elected officials and business to remain connected with the Governor’s office as the State works to draw down federal dollars in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).  Throughout the week, the topic of congressional authorization and funding for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (Corps) Coastal Texas Study — also referred to the “Coastal Spine” project — arose in the context of infrastructure dollars. The 2022 Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) provides opportunities to advance navigation, flood damage reduction, and ecosystem restoration projects like the Coastal Spine project, and several members of the Texas delegation expressed their support for the project and its necessary funding.  Overall, the 2022 Washington, D.C. Fly-In provided our member companies with a unique opportunity to engage with the Members of Congress and federal agency officials, as well as business leaders, stakeholders, and decision makers working on our top regional issues. These important discussions advance Houston’s energy competitiveness and secure our region’s position as a leader in the global energy transition, and ensure continued infrastructure investments to our state and region. Learn more about the Partnership's Public Policy efforts here.   
Read More
Public Policy

Key Outcomes of the 87th Texas Legislative Session

7/5/21
The Greater Houston Partnership is the region's primary business advocate and works on behalf of and alongside our 900 member companies to advance policy that supports continued economic growth across Texas. At the conclusion of the 87th Legislative Session formally the Greater Houston Partnership released a summary of outcomes from the organization's impact agenda for the 2021 session. In advance of this session, the Partnership’s Board of Directors and Public Policy Steering Committee worked to develop a legislative agenda that addresses the most pressing issues facing the business community and the greater Houston region – these being broadly categorized as access and energy competitiveness. Key wins were passed in both of these priority areas this session, with bills signed into law that:  Advance equitable access to public education, digital connectivity and health care Create a landscape that positions the Houston region to lead the development of carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS), a key step in advancing the global energy transition Address business community priorities including workforce development, legal liability protections, transportation infrastructure and economic development Despite the challenges presented throughout the 2021 session including the ongoing pandemic and Winter Storm Uri, the Partnership successfully advanced important legislation that supports continued economic growth across Texas.  We hope this overview of outcomes gives you insight to key policy issues facing the greater Houston region and thank you for your ongoing support and engagement in our work.  View the full report. Learn more about the Partnership's public policy work. 
Read More

Become a Member Today

Interested in joining the Partnership? Take the next step and learn how you can make an impact on Houston.

Get in touch with our team to:

  • Learn more about the Partnership's policy priorities
  • Get involved in a policy committee and meet industry peers 
  • Help shape the Partnership's policy initiatives
Taylor Landin
Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer
Public Policy
E
tlandin@houston.org
P
713-844-3624
Looking for the rest of our team?
Partnership Staff