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County getting $25.2 million in state highway funds

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MEGAN GRAY

The Ellis County Press

AUSTIN - Ellis County will receive $25.2 million of the roughly $2 billion in highway projects aimed at increasing safety, rehabilitating pavement, expanding highway corridors of statewide significance and reducing traffic congestion in communities across the state.

The projects will be funded by Proposition 12 bond proceeds, which were authorized by the Texas Legislature earlier this year and Texas Transportation Commission acted unanimously to approve Thursday, Nov. 19.

The funds will be used to resurface lanes and ramps on Interstate Highway 35 from US 77 south of Waxahachie to approximately one mile north of Johnston Road. 

"We are extremely pleased the Highway Commission has approved funding for this portion of Interstate Highway 35," said County Judge Carol Bush.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Ron Brown, R-Red Oak and Judge Bush worked alongside state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, to obtain Proposition 12 funds for Ellis County road improvements.

Texas voters initially approved the Proposition 12 bond referendum in 2007, directing the Legislature to authorize up to $5 billion in general obligation bonds, bonds paid back using general revenue, rather than fuel tax revenues , to be spent for transportation projects.

Bush, a member of the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition, said she is looking forward to working with the highway commission in the future to complete the rest of I-35 in the county.

"We are happy to have received such a generous proportion of the regions Prop 12 allocations," said Brown, the longest serving member of the Regional Transportation Committee, representing both Ellis and Kaufman Counties.

To select projects, Texas Department of Transportation staff utilized a process similar to the collaborative approach used to select American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects.

TxDOT districts and Metropolitan Planning Organizations were asked to develop a list of all needed projects that fit the bond program’s requirements and criteria to evaluate them.

Over 850 potential projects were evaluated statewide.

"The dollars have been approved through Austin, the Local Area Office will place the job on a bid schedule and it will be bid by early 2010," said County Planner Barbra Left-wich. 


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