A school bus rumbles down McCarty Lane from the San Marcos High School which sits at one end of the narrow country road. Plans for widening the road may have finally gained traction with the county commissioners’ court agree to a shared financing agreement with the city of San Marcos. MERCURY PHOTO by BRAD ROLLINS.
by BRAD ROLLINS
McCarty Lane — the narrow, rutted main approach to the new high school opened 8 months now — will be widened to four- and five- lanes within 21 months with a deal reached today between Hays County and city of San Marcos leaders.
Under an agreement hashed out over nearly a year by Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe and Mayor Susan Narvaiz, the city will assume the estimated $10 million reconstruction cost of widening a 1.1-mile stretch of McCarty Lane east of Interstate 35. The county will expand to four lanes the remainder of McCarty Lane from the Old Bastrop Highway to the city portion of the road, a project already out for construction bids. In addition, the county will transfer to the city a $2 million federal appropriation secured in 2005 by U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, whose district at the time included San Marcos.
“We’ve made great progress and I commend the council’s leadership in putting forth a partnership that would have been hard for the commissioners to turn down. At the end of the day, I think we did what we should have done and did what I believe the citizens expected us to do,” Narvaiz said.
The city portion of the road will be built to specifications that, pending federal environmental clearance, will comprise a leg of Farm-to-Market Road 110, the San Marcos loop. In exchange, county leaders agreed to include about $18 million for the second segment of FM 110 as part of a bond proposal going to county voters in November. Minus a $15.8 million reimbursement from the Texas Department of Transportation, the county’s contribution on that portion would be about $2.2 million.
Approved 5-0 by the commissioners court shorly after noon, the agreement itself must still be approved by the city council, which has on multiple ocassions already approved such an arrangement in concept. The agreement is on the agenda for a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday.
Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley, who negotiated the original, larger funding agreement with the state, said city leaders worked intently to reach an accord. On the interstate end of McCarty, a $72 million hotel and city-owned conference center is scheduled to be completed in October; on the other, a $60 million-plus high school opened in August.
“It’s a give and take relationship and the city of San Marcos has gone over and above and beyond to build this road for the good of the community,” he said.