Landgraf: Highway 302 Improvements Begin in May

KERMIT — The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) informed State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) on Wednesday that a project to widen or rehabilitate more than 24 miles of Highway 302 will begin this month.

“This is one of the high priority projects we’ve been fighting for for many years,” Landgraf said. “Folks all across Winkler County and I made our voices heard loud and clear about the need to make safety improvements to 302, and TxDOT has listened.”

The project stretches for approximately 24.4 miles and begins at FM 181 in Ector County and ends at County Road 313 in Winkler County. The project, which entails a total reconstruction of the entire stretch of road and the addition of a turning lane, is expected to be completed in summer 2022. These improvements effectively make Highway 302 a minimum of three lanes for its entire length in Winkler County.

“Last summer, we celebrated record funding levels for the Odessa TxDOT district,” Landgraf continued. “Now it’s time to start adding pavement to the ground.”


Other expansions and rehabilitation work will take place later in the year on other stretches of  Highway 302 in Winkler and Loving counties.

Motorists are reminded that state law requires them to obey warning signs, flaggers and traffic control devices. A 4-foot buffer will be put in place between opposing lanes to offer a safer driving experience. The plan calls for two-way traffic to be maintained throughout the life of the project. Any stops in traffic will be short term and only exist long enough for traffic control devices to be moved into place. There will be times when lanes are closed on the four-lane section.


Landgraf: COVID-19 Mobile Testing Team in Odessa on Saturday

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) is reminding West Texans that the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Texas Military Department are deploying a mobile testing team to Odessa on Saturday, May 2nd.

“I’m thankful that our community is receiving this important and necessary service from the state,” Landgraf said. “Knowledge is power, as they say, and these tests will provide actionable information that will directly impact public health in a positive way, giving us one more tool to limit the impact of COVID-19.”

Testing in Odessa will be conducted inside Barn C of the Ector County Coliseum located at 4201 Andrews Highway on Saturday, May 2nd. Testing at this location is available by appointment only for any individual experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms. Those interested in testing may make an appointment by phone at (512) 883-2400 or online through: https://txcovidtest.org/.

“Even if you are exhibiting just one symptom, whether it be a cough, trouble breathing, or a loss of taste or smell, you can set up an appointment to get a test,” Landgraf continued.

This mobile testing has been working across West Texas since last weekend, including Andrews on Friday.

On April 20th, Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas National Guard would be mobilizing to create these COVID-19 mobile testing teams. The teams are designed to focus on both rural areas that have not had access to testing and areas where an active outbreak requires additional testing capacity. 


Landgraf Calls on West Texans to Rally Support for North-South Highway

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) is calling on West Texans to support efforts to construct a major highway that would connect West Texas to ports of trade across the United States, as well as Mexico and Canada. In order to do so, Landgraf is advocating for West Texans to take part in the virtual public meeting the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is holding to present information on the Ports-to-Plains Feasibility Study on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 4:00 PM, and to submit comments regarding the study to TxDOT by May 28, 2020.

“To put it simply, TxDOT is figuring out the feasibility of building an Interstate-grade, four-lane divided highway that runs north to south, in West Texas, and possibly here through the heart of the Permian Basin,” Landgraf said.

The Texas “Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor,” which runs from north of Amarillo all the way down to Laredo, was designated by Congress as a High Priority Corridor in 1998. HB 1079, authored by Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo), supported by Landgraf, and signed into law by Governor Abbott in 2019, requires TxDOT to conduct a comprehensive study of the corridor and to evaluate the feasibility of constructing a continuous flow, four-lane divided highway through the corridor. The study is anticipated to conclude in January 2021.

“The virtual meeting will be specifically about the segment of the corridor that includes Odessa, Midland, Big Spring, San Angelo, and Lubbock” Landgraf continued. “This is an opportunity to learn about the study and to provide input on the recommendations TxDOT has received so far.”

To participate in the May 13th virtual meeting, TxDOT invites the public to log in online at txdot.gov, using the keywords “Ports-to-Plains.” A link will be provided to comment and view the presentation.

“A major trade artery like this could help be a stabilizing force for our economies out here in West Texas. The results of this study will affect our region for years to come, one way or another, and the impact that support and input from West Texans can have cannot be understated,” Landgraf concluded.

Written comments from the public regarding the study may be submitted by mail to TxDOT, c/o Ports-to-Plains Study Team, 5835 Callaghan Rd, Ste. 200, San Antonio, Texas 78228, or by email to portstoplains@txdot.gov. All comments must be received on or before Thursday, May 28, 2020. For more information or if you have a special communication accommodation or need for an interpreter, a request can be made at least two days prior to the meeting at portstoplains@txdot.gov or (512) 486-5106.


Landgraf Amplifies West Texans’ Voices with Governor

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) is communicating directly with Governor Greg Abbott about ideas he has received from West Texans on how to reopen businesses and get back to work safely amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“I’m grateful that you solicited input from the people of Texas,” Landgraf wrote in a letter to Governor Abbott earlier this week. “Many of my constituents in West Texas heeded your call, and submitted thoughtful proposals about safely reopening their businesses.”

On April 17, Governor Abbott announced the establishment of the Strike Force to Open Texas: a team of medical experts and leaders from the public and private sectors who will advise the governor on safely and strategically reopening the state. In that announcement, he called on all Texans to provide input on how the state could get back to business while still slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“I took the governor up on his offer,” Landgraf said. “I’ve received numerous ideas from business owners and workers out here in West Texas. I’ve already submitted one batch of ideas to Governor Abbott, and there’s plenty more where that came from. We’re ready to get back to work out here, to say the least.”

Governor Abbott and the Strike Force plan to announce additional steps to re-open Texas on April 27.


West Texas Receiving Shipment of 5-Minute COVID-19 Test Kits

ODESSA — The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) informed State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) on Thursday that Ector County and Midland County will be receiving a shipment of Abbott testing instruments and supplies to help in the fight against COVID-19. The tests, developed by Abbott Laboratories, can produce a positive or negative test result for COVID-19 in as little as five minutes, making them particularly useful in response to dynamic outbreak situations.

“This is a big deal in the battle against coronavirus here in the Permian Basin,” Landgraf said. “The Abbott tests have been able to produce results in minutes, rather than days or weeks. This makes our community safer by giving us a more accurate picture in a shorter amount of time.”

DSHS worked to distribute Abbott testing instruments and supplies to public health and health care entities in counties that have less access to testing and that are also experiencing community spread of COVID-19.

“I’m thankful we will now have one more weapon in our fight against COVID-19,” Landgraf said.

DSHS reports that deliveries of the testing kits will take place this week.


Landgraf Joins Virtual Meeting of the Odessa City Council

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) attended the virtual Odessa City Council meeting on Tuesday to discuss the local and statewide response to the COVID-19 pandemic, transportation projects in the city, and answer questions from the mayor and council members.

"I had a great discussion with Mayor Turner and the council members," Landgraf said.  "City leaders are threading the needle, doing what needs to be done to keep people safe and healthy, while also balancing the unique economic considerations of our region. I wanted to communicate to them that I’m here to help them serve our fellow Odessans in any way possible."

Landgraf, who represents Ector County in the Texas House of Representatives, met with the city council to offer any assistance the city may need from the state.

"I make it a priority to meet regularly with Odessa city officials," Landgraf continued. "A challenging time like this is when it’s most important for us to work together for the people we serve."

Landgraf is attending this and other local government meetings across the Permian Basin to keep locals informed about actions to combat the coronavirus and prepare for the next session of the Texas Legislature, which convenes at the Texas Capitol in January 2021.


Landgraf Participates in Conference Call with Ector County Utility District

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) joined members of the Ector County Utility District on a conference call on Wednesday to discuss the local and statewide response to COVID-19 and answer questions from the board members.

"I want to support ECUD in their efforts any way I can," Landgraf said. "Meeting the water infrastructure needs for the people and businesses in West Odessa is always necessary, but it is of even greater importance during these uncertain times."

Landgraf, who represents Ector County in the Texas House of Representatives, joined the call with the utility district to offer any assistance the city may need from the state.

"I will take what I learned today to Governor Abbott and my colleagues in the legislature to make sure Ector County gets the state resources it needs," Landgraf added.

Landgraf is attending this and other local government meetings across the Permian Basin to keep locals informed about actions to combat the coronavirus and prepare for the next session of the Texas Legislature, which convenes at the Texas Capitol in January 2021.


Landgraf Joins Virtual Meeting of the Andrews County Commissioners Court

ANDREWS — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) attended the virtual Andrews County Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday to discuss the local and statewide response to COVID-19, transportation projects in the county, and answer questions from the commissioners.

"Andrews County has a lot on its plate," Landgraf said. "Judge Falcon and the other commissioners are doing what needs to be done to keep the people of Andrews safe and healthy, while balancing the economic considerations in the county. It’s a balancing act, but they’re doing it."

Landgraf, who represents Andrews County in the Texas House of Representatives, met with the commissioners court to offer any assistance the county may need from the state.

"It is always a priority for me to meet regularly with local officials, but it is even more important right now," Landgraf continued. "I will take what I learned in this meeting to Governor Abbott and my colleagues in the legislature to make sure Andrews County gets the state resources it needs."


Landgraf Provides Constituents Online Resource for COVID-19 Information 

ODESSA — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) launched a webpage to provide information and resources related to the novel COVID-19 virus to keep his constituents informed and safe. The webpage can be accessed through this URL: https://www.brookslandgraf.com/covid_19_resources_info

“I wanted to provide a way for my constituents to be able to access verified information from trusted sources in real time,” Landgraf explained. “This page accomplishes that goal, and I hope it helps folks get the information and services they need quicker.”

The webpage provides ways to access various state and local government agency websites, the Texas Students MealFinder Map -- which will allow Texas parents to locate education facilities serving meals in local communities -- and information on how to volunteer or help the state identify sources of additional medical supplies. The webpage also provides access to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) COVID-19 dashboard, containing real time data and mapping out the outbreak across the state of Texas.

“West Texans can accomplish anything they set their minds to,” Landgraf continued. “Just give us the facts and we can come up with a roadmap to solve any problem. We will get through this together by being prepared and informed.”


Landgraf Discusses Education Reform with Andrews ISD Board

ANDREWS — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) attended the Andrews Independent School District Board meeting on Monday to discuss the state of public education in Texas.

"I've always appreciated the Andrews ISD board members' perspective and support," Landgraf said. "We had a great discussion about actions taken by the legislature in 2019 to reform education and reduce Robin Hood recapture payments for school districts across the state."

Landgraf, who represents Andrews County in the Texas House of Representatives, met with the school board to offer any assistance the district may need from the state.

"Our collaboration has been a fruitful one," Landgraf continued. "Dr. Azam and I worked on an amendment to the education code in 2019 to provide school districts subject to recapture flexibility as to when payments are made and the ability to earn interest on recapture payments; AISD already has great plans for how they will leverage this creative funding stream."

Landgraf is attending this and other local government meetings across the Permian Basin to prepare for the next session of the Texas Legislature, which convenes at the Texas Capitol in January 2021.