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In 2007, Texas voters authorized the State to issue up to $5 billion in general revenue bonds for transportation and highways. Last week, TxDOT approved $2 billion of these bond funds for non-tolled highway projects.
Central Texas was the big winner, with nearly $1 billion pledged to expand I-35 from 4 lanes to 6. The North Texas region came out the big loser.
What did Collin County get? For one thing, no new roads, but more than almost any other North Texas County.
The total funding for Collin County is $18.2 million, while Dallas is slated to receive only about $3.77 million for new lanes on I-30 downtown and for repairing I-20 near LBJ freeway.
Denton County will get $11.2 million, Grayson - $3.9 million, Hunt - $20.1 million, Rockwall - $2.6 million. Tarrant County received a paltry $215,000.
The projects whose funding was approved in Collin County are:
- $6.1 million for repairs to FM 543, north of McKinney to Weston
- $3.6 million to rebuild two portions of FM 545, near Melissa
- $4.0 million to rebuild a part of FM 546 near the Collin County Airport in McKinney
- $4.5 million for repairs to SH 6 from SH 78 to the Hunt County Line
The funding for the North Texas region, including Collin County is significantly, and ridiculously below our needs.
One explanation? Our elected state representatives are not doing their job. In a posting on the Dallas Morning News Transportation Blog, Michael Lindenberger reports that one legislator form Mesquite wrote a letter, "to Transportation Commission chairwoman Deirdre Delisi, urging her to table the item [the allocation of bond funds], [it] was signed by just seven other House members from the region. An aide told me last night that all members of the delegation had been asked to sign it, but many had not done so." If our legislative delegations can't at least try to secure the funds we need, the only new roads this region will see built will be tolled.
That's how it has been and how it is likely to remain without some serious political pressure from a unified North Texas legislative delegation.
You might have also noticed that the bulk of the funds for Collin County will be spent in Jaynes' precinct.
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