The Collin County commissioners court will conduct a public transportation workshop to discuss (and hopefully resolve) differing positions among members of the commissioners court as to how we should spend available county transportation dollars. Currently, Collin County has $15 million available in discretionary funds from the 2007 transportation bond, and an additional $4 million in contingency funds that have resulted from savings on previous infrastructure projects.
You can be sure that there will be significantly differing opinions as to the best method to allocate these funds. While I have full confidence that my each of colleagues share my desire to promote infrastructure development throughout the county, I expect the discussion will reveal disagreements as to the best method of allocating the limited funds.
Some of the ideas already put forth include:
- Allocate the funds to county thoroughfares on a prioritized basis, including county roads (e.g., the Outer Loop), state highways & FM roads (e.g., SH 289/Preston Road, FM 2786/Stacy Road), and federal highways (e.g., US 75, US 380).
- Allocate the funds evenly or proportionately among all of our cities, disregarding the region’s most strategic projects, even if that inevitably means that some cities will use those county infrastructure dollars to build or repair local city streets.
- Allocate the funds evenly between the four commissioner precincts, setting up each commissioner as the ultimate arbiter of how to award the funds within the precinct.
Although each of our communities has valid and critical transportation projects that require funding, Collin County has limited resources available, and our state and federal governments continually fail to adequately fund their respective infrastructure responsibilities. With that in mind, we absolutely must be strategic in funding projects that help promote and maximize mobility throughout the county. Accordingly, I will advocate that we take a regional, county-wide approach rather than splitting our funds evenly by precinct or by city. I will also advocate that we give preference to the critical thoroughfares that link our communities together, rather than spending funds on traditionally local city streets.
You can be sure it is likely to be a lively discussion. Feel free to join us in person or online. I welcome you to share your comments or thoughts with me. To do so, please contact my office at (972) 548-4632.
Story by Collin County Commissioner Chris Hill