San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

January 30th, 2008
Roads take the stage

By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large

SAN MARCOS – Ever since Hays County voters rejected a $133.2 million pass-through financing agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) last May, all the action between county commissioners and the state agency has taken place either behind the curtain or by signals sent from afar.

Finally, the players will be on stage Thursday, 10 a.m., when the commissioners are expected to meet with TxDOT officials in a special called meeting of the court.

The agenda includes five items covering the gamut of pass-through financing issues, all the way from specific discussion of the pass-through agreement to a general discussion of how the county should finance roads to a possible amendment of the Transportation Advisory Board’s charge.

Tuesday morning’s regular session included a rather heated exchange between County Judge Liz Sumter (D-Wimberley) and Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton (D-Kyle), as to whether or not Sumter has sufficiently communicated the status of various transportation meetings to the court. To make a long story short, Sumter said she has, Barton said she hasn’t, and it’s fair to say the conversation didn’t improve relations between the two.

However, all can agree about a meeting Thursday morning, and there’s an agenda to prove it.

Barton has been hopeful that TxDOT will move about $50 million from RR 12 to Interstate-35. Voters in the western half of the county disliked the proposed widening of RR 12 and turned out in enough force last May to kill the agreement. By a convoluted process, the court has since tried to keep the agreement alive in amended form.

Under the agreement, the county would front the costs to improve key state roads in Hays County, particularly FM 1626, with the state reimbursing up to $133.2 million over the next 20 years.

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