Rockwall Co. Commissioner Lorie Grinnan
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Rockwall County Commissioners will ask voters to pass a $100 million road bond initiative to reduce traffic congestion this November to upgrade four of the County’s major thoroughfares into modern highways which can accommodate current and future traffic flow, Commissioner Lorie Grinnan explained this morning at the monthly Rockwall County Republican Men’s Club breakfast.
This 2008 bond initiative follows the $17 million road bond package which 75 percent of voters approved in 2004 to construct I-30 interchanges at FM 205, FM 549, FM 551, Hickory Hill and FM 740.
According to Grinnan, the additional bond package is needed now because previous County leaders could not foresee how quickly the County would grow, did not anticipate how serious traffic congestion would become and, therefore, did not upgrade enough roads fast enough.
Most of the County roads were built 50 years ago to haul crops, not to carry thousands of cars and trucks, she said.
The $100 million will be leveraged into approximately $310.3 million in roadway improvements, but the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) and the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) require that local involvement must be shown in order to qualify for the funds when they become available, in competition with Dallas, Collin, Tarrant and Denton Counties.
The Commissioner explained that the “worst-case scenario” cost to taxpayers and business owners should not exceed three cents per $100 valuation over the next ten years, based “on a conservatively projected six percent growth rate (lowered to two percent after ten years), after all the debt is issued.”
She said that means that the owner for a home valued at $190,000 would pay less than $4.75 per month, “about the cost of one no-frills cup of coffee.”
Her entire Powerpoint presentation is available to see by clicking on “2008 Road Bond Initiative” on Rockwall County’s website homepage.
State Highways 66 and 276, plus Farm-to-Market roads 549 and 740 are the major roadways targeted for improvements.
Improvements will widen SH66 into a six-lane divided highway for 11.5 miles from SH205 through Fate to FM1777 in Royse City. The bond funding request will be $30 million.
SH 276 will be widened to a six-lane divided highway for 9.2 miles from SH 205 to the Hunt Co. line, at a cost of $28 million.
FM549 will be widened into a six-lane divided highway for 12.5 miles from FM 740 in Heath to FM552 near the Collin Co. line at a cost of $30 million.
FM 740 will be widened to a four-lane divided highway for four miles from FM 549 in Heath to FM3097 (Horizon Rd.) at a cost of $5 million.
Comments from the crowd of nearly 100 seemed generally positive towards passing the bond initiative. Rockwall Community Playhouse president Gary Freedman said doing so would finally be a proactive step in the right direction rather than reactive, as has been the case too often lately. Former Rockwall government leader Dale Morgan said that many of the former leaders just didn’t realize the necessity of better roads because they were farmers whose only real care was getting their crops transported.
The one major concern asked by a member of the audience was whether business and industry would be paying their fair share, rather than assessing the burden of financing on homeowners. Commissioner Grinnan responded that businesses and homewowners would all pay their fair share if the bond initiative passes.