Rep. Canales becomes first Latino chair of Texas House Transportation Committee

State Rep. Terry Canales speaks from the floor of the House of Representatives in this file photo during the recognition of RGV Day on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, at the Texas Capitol in Austin. (Nathan Lambrecht | The Monitor)

State Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, became the first Hispanic chairman of the Texas House Committee on Transportation, the legislator’s office confirmed in a news release on Wednesday.

Canales was appointed to the committee by Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. It’s the first time in more than 50 years that a Rio Grande Valley representative is on the committee.

“This has been a big year for young Latinos across the country,” Canales said in the release. “I am proud to follow in the footsteps of the trailblazers who have paved the way.”

The committee is responsible for oversight of infrastructure projects. That includes transit systems, water transportation, roads, railroads and airports, among others. The committee also oversees the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Transportation Commission.

“With explosive population growth across Texas, including in my own district, our state must plan for future transportation needs, while continuously maintaining our present infrastructure,” Canales stated. “I look forward to working closely with local, state and federal partners to make sure Texas’ transportation network continues to be the best in the country.”