County uses federal funds to repair bridges
March 25, 2013 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated March 25, 2013 at 10:26 p.m.
Thanks to a federal off-system bridge program, Victoria County will not foot the bill for a $210,000 bridge repair project.
Victoria County Commissioners approved a resolution Monday that waves the county's 10 percent match to the Federal Highway Bridge Program off-system bridge project in exchange for doing $21,000 worth of work on other bridge or drainage infrastructure.
Commissioner Kevin Janak called it a "win-win."
"The public benefits the most," he said. "This is where their tax dollars are spent that they can actually see, from state, federal and local levels."
Off-system bridges are county owned while on-system bridges are state owned and located on state or interstate highways or farm-to-market roads.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the program allows county governments to waive the 10 percent cost participation requirement in the bridge program if it agrees to use an equivalent dollar amount to improve other deficient structures in the county.
By matching the 10 percent area portion with in-kind work, the state ends up picking up 20 percent of the total bill to replace the Kohutek Road bridge, Janak said.
"It's a lot of work to do this," he said. "A lot of counties would rather pay that 10 percent, if they have the money."
However, by doing an "in-kind" contribution, the work becomes a two-birds-one-stone situation, Janak said.
Janak said the county should rely heavily on taking advantage of these projects.
"The federal government is cutting everything," Janak said. "If this program goes away, there's no way the county can replace a $2 million bridge."
County Judge Don Pozzi said the county has been using the program for many years.
"Much longer than I've been here," he said.
This is the fifth bridge to be repaired through the program in Precinct 2.
To meet the in-kind contribution, Janak recommended eight culvert replacements and installation projects within the precinct estimated to cost $22,000.
Commissioner Danny Garcia said he was interested in finding funding for bridge repairs in Precinct 1.
"I have two bridges I want them to look at," he said.
Under new rating criteria, they would qualify, Garcia said.
Commissioner Clint Ives said he also has two bridges that qualify.
Parsons Road will be closed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday between Nursery Drive and Wearden Drive while crews perform drainage work as part of the grant's equivalent match.
Janak said the detour through Wearden Drive will be open.