Hays County has committed $1 million from federal transportation funds to help pay for a railroad overpass on Aquarena Springs Drive if the money is used within three years.
Rather than asking for the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to dedicate federal funds to individual projects in the county, the Hays County Commissioner Court sought and received a lump sum of $3,870,782. The projects still must be ratified by the CAMPO board where Hays County is represented by Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley and San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero.
The San Marcos City Council has already budgeted $7.4 million over the next two fiscal years toward the $39 million project. The Texas Transportation Commissioner has committed $20 million from its State Railroad Grade Separation Fund; in addition, the city previously won a $600,000 federal earmark for the overpass, which would serve traffic traveling between Interstate 35 and Texas State University.
That leaves a funding gap of $9.9 million, said Linda Huff, the city’s Capital Improvements director. That number includes the cost of right-of-way, most of which is owned by Texas State University. The city has not yet formally asked the university to donate right-of-way for the overpass but expects to do so, Huff said.
The city hopes to start construction on the overpass by September or October 2013, said James Massaro, the city’s senior engineer.
Under the commissioners court’s funding allocation, the Aquarena Springs Drive money must be allocated and spent within three years or it will instead go to planned modifications to Ranch-to-Market Rd. 967 in northern Hays County.
The overpass would be only the third overpass at San Marcos’ 70 or so at-grade railroad crossings. Three quarters of the city’s population is on the west side of the tracks while much commercial development, including the only hospital, is on the eastside.
The city’s transportation masterplan estimated that, in 2004, drivers collectively spent 51.7 hours at railroad crossings waiting for passing trains. Since then, the city’s population continues to grow but officials, in 2006, also opened the long awaited Wonder World Drive overpass. In recent years, officials also opened an overpass on Yarrington road connecting the Blanco Vista subdivision to the interstate.
Other projects the commissioners court is funding include:
fEmail | Print