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

Public Policy

HOU in ATX: Legislative Update – Week 4

2/3/23
This week, freezing weather closes the Texas Capitol, the Partnership welcomes new board chair, advocating for ARPA-H in DC, and the Comptroller announces additional federal funding to address broadband needs. Winter storm closes the Capitol Severe weather across the state pushed lawmakers to stay home on just the fourth week of the 88th legislative session, as both the House and Senate chambers adjourned until Tuesday, February 7th.  Early in the week, Governor Abbott deployed the State Operations Center , to which 15 state agencies report, in preparation for winter storm Mara. While the power grid performed as expected, freezing temperatures and heavy ice brought down power lines, causing communities across Central and East Texas to lose power. Annual Meeting: Incoming Chair Marc L. Boom gives address On Thursday, the Greater Houston Partnership hosted its Annual Meeting. During the meeting, Dr. Marc L. Boom, President and CEO of Houston Methodist and the Partnership’s incoming Board Chair, provided an update of the Partnership’s work and its direction for 2023.  In his speech, Dr. Boom outlined how the business community can play a positive role in finding solutions in today’s increasingly polarized environment. Boom challenged the Houston business community to embrace “AND” solutions to the challenges facing our region.  Energy Transition: “We’re going to use fossil fuels far into the future AND we need to do so cleanly.”  Immigration: “We all need more workers AND we all need secure borders which we as a country control.”  Education: “We have [to have a] public education system focused on meeting the diverse needs of all of Houston’s young people, preparing them for the careers of tomorrow, AND [we have to] also hold school districts accountable for academic performance.” North Houston Highway Improvement Project: “The I-45 project [is a great example of] an AND of jobs AND mobility AND safety AND enhancing and protecting surrounding communities. The bottom line: Boom concluded with: “We need commitment and engagement of a broad, diverse group of business leaders to advance solutions through the fractious debate, singularly focused on Houston’s long-term success and creating opportunity for all Houstonians.” Go deeper: Watch Dr. Boom’s full Annual Meeting address here. The bottom line: Boom concluded with: “We need commitment and engagement of a broad, diverse group of business leaders to advance solutions through the fractious debate, singularly focused on Houston’s long-term success and creating opportunity for all Houstonians.” Go deeper: Watch Dr. Boom’s full Annual Meeting address here. Click to expand Houston Life Sciences Coalition and ARPA-H Even with the state legislative session underway, the Partnership’s work at the federal level continues.  The Houston Life Sciences Coalition, led by the Texas Medical Center, traveled to Washington this week to advance Houston’s opportunity to be awarded a headquarters location for a new federal agency charged with health innovation. The coalition made the case for Houston in meetings with administration officials and members of Congress.  The big picture: In 2022, Congress formally authorized ARPA-H and provided a $500 million increase for the agency, bringing its total funding to $1.5 billion. The bill also requires that ARPA-H have offices or facilities in not fewer than 3 geographic areas. The bottom line: ARPA-H’s mission is to accelerate transformative innovation in biomedical science and medicine, with the goal to maintain the country’s global leadership in science and innovation. By the numbers: The Texas Medical Center is the largest medical city in the world: 60+ best in class academic and clinical partners  10 Million annual patient encounters  11,000 total patient beds  120,000 employees $850 million of NIH Funding in 2020  2,000+ clinical trials annually  225+ active start-up life science companies What’s next: An announcement of headquarter locations by Secretary of Health and Human Service Xavier Becerra is expected this year.  Broadband gets a boost    Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced his agency will receive $363 million in federal grant dollars from the U.S. Treasury to increase access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet across Texas. The award will go toward the Bringing Online Opportunities to Texas (BOOT) program, a competitive grant process administered by the Texas Broadband Development Office (BDO). BOOT funding is designed to connect unserved and underserved locations that lack broadband access; a critical need was made apparent and exacerbated by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Why it matters: The program will fund last mile broadband infrastructure projects and qualified projects that meet a specific criterion. Eligibility will be determined by the Texas Broadband Development map.  The funding, administered through the federal Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, will bring reliable internet service to about 152,000 locations across the state. By reducing the digital divide and closing the broadband last mile gap, Texans will have better access to remote health care options, as well as educational and employment opportunities. What's next: The Texas Broadband Development Office will begin accepting applications in spring 2023. During the 88th Legislative Session, the Greater Houston Partnership will provide a weekly update on newsworthy items from Austin. You can view more policy news and archives of our weekly updates here. 
Read More
Public Policy

HOU in ATX: Legislative Update – Week 3

1/27/23
This week, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced Senate committee assignments, the Partnership highlighted the importance of a strong public school accountability system, and welcomed it's members to Austin to advocate for our Executive Priorities. Senate committee assignments announced Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick unveiled committee assignments with Houston-area Senators chairing several critical senate committees. Of the sixteen full committees, six will be chaired by Houston-area Senators.  Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston) will chair the powerful Senate Finance Committee responsible for writing the state budget.  Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston) was reappointed chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee and will be the only Democratic Senator to lead a committee.  Why it matters: This committee will have jurisdiction over any potential criminal court expansion, which could address Harris County’s prevailing backlog. Senators Bettencourt, Huffman, and Miles will join him on the committee. Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) was named chair of the Education Committee, which will now oversee K-12 and higher education. Several priority issues will funnel through Creighton’s committees, including public school accountability, K-12 curriculum reforms, and community college finance reform.  One more point: Freshman Senator Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston) was appointed as vice chair of the Higher Education subcommittee.  Other notable Houston-area chairs and appointments: Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) will chair the Senate Committee on Local Government.  Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) will chair the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. Senator Borris Miles will also join her on this committee. Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) will chair Senate Committee on Transportation. Other Houston area senators joining Senator Nichols include Senator Carol Alvarado and Senator Borris Miles. The bottom line: Committee chairs influence what bills make it to the Senate floor and are viewed as strong policy leaders for the issues they oversee.  Go deeper: Click here to view full committee listings Preserving a strong public school accountability system is a top priority for the Partnership. This week, Taylor Landin, the Partnership’s Chief Policy Officer, led a panel discussion of education policy experts from Texas 2036 and the Texas Public Policy Foundation on the importance of accountability and assessments in order to produce students that are college, career and military-ready.  Our thought bubble: Without a strong public school accountability system and assessments, parents and communities are unable to determine which students are falling behind. And we know that if a child is not reading on grade level by the third grade, they are less likely to ever catch up academically.  Click to expand Bob Harvey at Partnership in ATX event The Partnership in ATX  The Partnership’s trip to Austin began with a Legislative Briefing on Energy, including expert panelists sharing their knowledge on energy transition, low carbon technology, and hydrogen before a packed room of legislative staff and policy thought leaders.  Panelists included:  Jeremy Mazur, Senior Policy Advisor, Texas 2036 Mark Klewpatinond, Global Business Manager, Hydrogen, Exxon Mobil's Low Carbon Solutions Carrie Lalou, Director, Business Development, Linde Gas US  The bottom line: Texas is uniquely positioned to lead the world in developing solutions to the dual challenge at the heart of the Energy Transition - how to meet the growing demand for energy while lowering global emissions. Leading the energy transition requires consistent legal and regulatory policy to create certainty, attract investment and accelerate project deployment.  An evening Legislative Reception brought together members of the Legislature, policy leaders, and the Texas business community to celebrate the Houston region.  Bob Harvey, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, addressed the crowd and outlined the Partnership's 88th Legislative Session Executive Priorities.  Austin Buzz: Dan Patrick announces re-election and energy report released What’s New: Days after his being sworn-in to a third term as the state’s Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick made public comments indicating he will “absolutely” run for a fourth term.  Worth a read: Texas Oil and Gas Association released its annual energy and economic impact report that provides data on the impact of the oil and gas industry on the Texas economy.  During the 88th Legislative Session, the Greater Houston Partnership will provide a weekly update on newsworthy items from Austin. You can view more policy news and archives of our weekly updates here.   
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
Executive Partners