Victoria officials consider state grant for road repairs

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Dec. 9, 2013 at 6:09 a.m.

Victoria County could see some state help in repairing roads damaged by heavy oil and gas industry traffic.

The commissioners court gave preliminary approval Monday to applying for a piece of the $225 million in state funding set aside to help counties offset the damage from the increase in heavy traffic.

County Judge Don Pozzi said the county is eligible for an estimated $619,724. DeWitt County could receive a minimum of $4.56 million in state assistance - 11th most in the state.

"I think the program itself is good for the counties," Pozzi said. "We're always happy to get any help we can from the state."

While the court voted unanimously to start the process for applying for the funds, Commissioner Clint Ives said the process is complicated, and the timeline is short.

"It's a tremendous amount of roadwork," he said. "The question is if it's worth it."

The deadline to apply is Feb. 14.

Along with identifying the sources of road degradation, the county would need to hold two public hearings and create a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone.

Formation of reinvestment zones requires an advisory board of directors for each zone with up to three members from the oil and gas industry and two public members.

Once the zone is formed, the property tax baseline is set, and the revenue generated above that baseline - due to an increase in property values - is dedicated to transportation projects within the zone.

Commissioner Kevin Janak said Fortran Road in Precinct 2 would qualify for the state assistance.

"It's right on the edge with heavy, heavy oil-field traffic," he said.

Commissioner Gary Burns said roads toward McFaddin in Precinct 3 would also qualify.

"It's an arduous task in the application process," Ives said. "Consultant firms are smelling the money."



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