PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

March 14, 2013

Port Arthur Council candidate: Fix foundation first

PORT ARTHUR — Port Arthur native Robert Troy said he has vision.

He could envision solutions to the problems the City of Port Arthur has faced for years — high unemployment, crumbling infrastructure and a deteriorating downtown. And he believed he could help remedy those problems if he were elected to the District 4 seat on the Port Arthur City Council.

“The city has lacked some vision as to how it should tackle these problems,” Troy, 69, said. “I think I could be fundamental in helping develop a vision.”

The city’s infrastructure has been corroding for years, he said. It did not just become that way overnight.

“It’s not a hard thing to see that the city of Port Arthur is in very bad shape, and it has been deteriorating over the years,” Troy said. “I can’t point the finger at any particular person.”

In District 4 — Troy’s district — the streets are in deplorable shape, the ditches so overgrown with grass and weeds that water seems to trickle down the drains whenever it rains, he said.

“You have to drive real careful in some areas,” he said. “You could really mess up the front end of a car, driving down some of the streets, and that’s not acceptable.”

For any other issues that would arise in his district, Troy said he would institute an open-door policy if elected so that his constituents could call upon him and express their concerns or complaints at will. Then he would respond to their comments within 24 hours.

“I just like to get out and talk with people and learn people’s needs by listening to what they say,” he said.

Unemployment ranked at the top of Troy’s priority list. He said unemployment in the area was “far too high.” In January, the jobless rate was 17.8 percent in Port Arthur.

“When people are working, the city has revenue,” he said. “It doesn’t have to depend on grants and loans.”

If more people were working, the city would receive more tax revenue, and it would have more funds to funnel into the revitalization of downtown or reparations to infrastructure, Troy said. But when people are not working, they do not spend money.

“It all works in a circle,” he said, “and right now that circle is broken.”

As technology has developed and eliminated the need for various jobs, many of the people in Port Arthur who had jobs no longer do, Troy said. Residents need to be educated and trained for more technical jobs, and the city can help by teaming up with industry, businesses and the education system to train adults and children.

“The foundation of a city is its infrastructure and its people,” he said.

Troy has Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and is a retired merchant marine. He served on the Port Arthur Charter Change Committee last year, which recommended amendments to the city’s charter that will appear on the May ballot.

email: bcrum@panews.com

twitter: @broocrum

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