Fort Worth Rep. Kay Granger stands by vote against bill that funded Panther Island

·3 min read
Yffy Yossifor/

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, a Fort Worth Republican, stood by her vote against a federal infrastructure bill that provided the funds for the Panther Island project.

“I wasn’t against this project, I was against some of the other parts of that bill,” Granger said Thursday, when pressed about her November vote during a press conference.

Granger and U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, announced Wednesday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has allocated $403 million for a 1.5-mile bypass channel that will create an island north of downtown. The money is being funneled through the Army Corps from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden in November.

Granger was among those who did not vote for the $1 trillion infrastructure bill. The bill passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives on a 228-206 vote, with 13 Republicans supporting the legislation. All of Texas’ Republican House members voted against the measure.

At the time, Granger described the legislation as the “latest liberal wish list” and said it would add “$256 billion to our growing national debt,” citing the Congressional Budget Office.

“Less than 25% of the new spending in this so-called ‘infrastructure’ bill goes to traditional infrastructure like roads and bridges, and only a fraction of the bill’s $1.2 trillion total cost is paid for,” she said in a Nov. 6 statement.

Granger noted that the bill “changed significantly” as it worked its way through the legislative process but that the pot of money that was ultimately used to fund the flood project did not.

Granger has blamed Mick Mulvaney, then director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Donald Trump, for blocking funding for the project, a point she reiterated Thursday. Some had hoped that with the Biden administration taking over the White House, the Panther Island project would see more success.

“It is a team effort, but had we not been able to get the bipartisan infrastructure plan done, I don’t think we would have gotten it,” Veasey told the Star-Telegram Wednesday. He joined the Thursday news conference virtually.

Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker praised the Granger’s work on the project.

“There’s no way she was going to let Fort Worth miss out on the opportunity that was promised to us, and the project came to fruition, and that’s really what today is,” Parker said. “All of Fort Worth should be incredibly proud of her leadership, tenacity, to get the job done.”

She added that Granger and Veasey have “worked tirelessly together in a bipartisan fashion.”

Bipartisan being key word,” Parker said. “You don’t see that happen very often, and they created a partnership to make sure this project came together.”

Matt Angle, the director of the Democratic-supporting Lone Star Project, said Granger believed she could “have it both ways” by voting against the infrastructure bill while still taking credit for the project. Angle is from Tarrant County and has long followed the project.

“You got basically Democrats pulling the wagon, Republicans riding and cheering while they’re actually trying to slow the wagon trying to slow the wagon down,” he said.