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The county commissioners, meeting as the Collin County Toll Road Authority, have spent a lot of time over the last month listening to staff presentations on the Outer Loop.
Monday, they took action, approving the preparation of full engineering plans for the 3-A,B,C & D sections of the proposed tollway.
Those sections, known as Phase 3 would connect the Dallas North Tollway with Central Expressway. The engineering plans are budgeted at $3.1 million. The court also approved doing preliminary survey work on the Phase 4 section that connects US 380 east of Farmersville with FM 6 between Nevada and Josephine. The cost of the survey work is expected to be about $700,000.
Late last year, the court approved engineering plans for Phase 1 which will connect US 75 with SH 121 north of Melissa. The engineering cost for Phase 1 was approved at $956 million. The court had also approved spending $10 million to aquire the land for the toll road.
The expected cost of the entire 53 mile Outer Loop project is expected to be almost $4 billion (in 2008 dollars). It is hoped that construction will begin in 2011 and probably won't be complete until after 2030.
One thing that came out in testimony during these last meetings is that the commissioners really have no idea how they are going to be able to finance the $4 billion price tag between now and 2030.
The county has $3.9 million available, of which the court approved spending $3.8 million yesterday. They anticipate being able to raise about $4 million from general revenue, and to divert about $10 million from bond funds.
Another $5 million was promised by the RTC from SH 121 money, but the commissioners court learned last week that the money could only be used for environmental studies. That leaves more than $3.9 billion of the $4 billion costs unfunded.
Nevertheless, it is "full steam ahead" for our planned Outer Loop Tollway.
In other action, after meeting in executive session, the court approved beginning a condemnation suit on one parcel of private land needed for the road. (They have the money for lawyers).
February Outer Loop Update presentation, February 16, 2009
The Collin County Toll Road Authority, CCO, January 26, 2009
Outer Loop: County to seek legal action against property owners?, CCO, January 3, 2008
DMN-Outer Loop route gets a green light, CCO, December 15, 2006
That being said, I don't see how anything that happened to Collin County prior to 2006 is any worse that what is happening now.
If we truly have officials campaigning on their ability to form or that they have existing relationships with the state, then we need to see the fruits of their efforts.
Much like the coming summer, the Collin County tree is dry and bare.
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