After sharing how the process of building the highway has introduced him to dealing with state and federal agencies, the judge appeared to reference an attempt by the Federal Highway Administration to claim review authority over much of the road using the National Environmental Protection Act, an attempt Riley was able to limit.
“I have one political statement,” he told the crowd. “The process from Washington to Austin has to change. It’s not a matter of saying we just don’t like regulations; it’s a matter of saving the taxpayers of this country billions and billions of dollars.
“We can do it without harming the water. We can do it without harming nature. But when the bureaucrats control the process that we have to work through, that is wrong ...
“I think it’s time that everybody be sensitive to that process.”
Construction of the first phase of the RWMH, from State Highway 51 to FM 920, began in January of 2011, and the road was officially opened a year later. The loop is now open to traffic from SH 51 south to Ranger Highway.
The highway is named after a late former chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission and 14-year member of the Texas House of Representatives.