U.S. Senator John Cornyn visits West Texas in 'listening mode'

Published: Aug. 20, 2019 at 12:56 AM CDT
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The Permian Basin Strategic Partnership and U.S. Senator John Cornyn held a roundtable discussion with local leaders and experts at the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum on Monday.

The senator said at the beginning he was in "listening mode" and wanted to hear more about the challenges the region faces including transportation, education, health care and housing.

"This is an incredible region of our state and it does not only have statewide, but national and international significance," Cornyn said. "But, before you can get this oil and gas out of the ground, you have to have the workforce by having the quality of life that people will want for themselves and their families."

Local leaders and experts had the chance to speak up and many, like Midland Mayor Jerry Morales, focused on the need for better roads.

"[Senator Cornyn] alluded to all of the challenges we are going through. For me to answer as a mayor and a leader of this community - It's roads - not only locally, but highway infrastructure," Morales said. "We cannot continue afford it on our own. We are putting every budget and penny we can toward local roads."

Cornyn said some federal funds are being used for TxDOT projects in the Permian Basin District, such as the $500 million in projects that is currently under contract.

Although, he explained that Texas has received the short end of the stick due to the rate of inflation.

"We're going to be working on that sort of longer-term funding to provide the resources necessary, so that the Department of Transportation can administer the funds and make sure the roads and bridges get built," Cornyn explained.

Following the roundtable discussion, the senator was given a tour of the museum

The media was then limited to asking two questions during a news conference.