Weatherford Democrat

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February 5, 2014

11 county road projects could receive grant funding

Commissioners hope to tap into allocated state funds by creating transportation reinvestment zones

By JUDY SHERIDAN

Parker County proceeded with plans to win grant funding for roads damaged by oil and gas producers Tuesday by holding a public hearing on the creation of one or more County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zones.

Engineers also submitted 11 road projects to include in the zones.

Legislators have required that counties create CETRZs in order to compete for $225 million in grants they have set aside for fiscal year 2014.

A CETRZ surrounds a planned transportation project and captures the new property taxes generated inside it, according to TxDOT.

“The CETRZ will not increase or decrease property taxes,” Judge Mark Riley said.

“It will utilize taxes from the increase in value within that to go strictly for transportation projects. The money generated in the zone cannot be transferred to the General Fund or used for any other purpose.”

The grant estimated for Parker County is about $1.27 million Riley said, with the county ponying up about $254,000, a 20 percent match.

“There is a possibility that more money would be available to apply for, because there will be some counties that aren’t going to apply I’ve been told,” he said, “but that would come later in the process.”

Chris Bosco, of Freese and Nichols, who has worked with commissioners to prioritize county road projects, named 11 roads as candidates for the CETRZ application. The improvements — which consist of 2 inches of asphalt along the length of the roads and 8 inches of flex base on base failure areas — total $11.5 million.

“We’re submitting more than what is allocated,” Bosco said, referencing the $1.2 million estimate.

“If other counties that are eligible elect not to submit, there could be opportunity for that to go up. We want to make sure we’ve submitted well above our amount, so we don’t have to re-evaluate.”

Bosco listed the grant projects by precinct, giving each a priority number:

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