• July 30, 2014

Panel commits to new bypass funding

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Posted: Friday, October 22, 2010 12:00 pm | Updated: 9:12 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Taylor Short

The Cove Herald

The Copperas Cove City Council voted to maintain financial support of the Southeast Bypass project Tuesday after a previous attempt this year failed.

The Advanced Funding Agreement, to be delivered to the Texas Department of Transportation today, states that the city will issue an estimated $51.3 million in debt in January for project construction plus issuance costs and 18 months of capitalized interest.

City Manager Andrea Gardner said the type of debt to be issued next year is still undetermined, but would probably be a revenue bond. A response from TxDOT about the agreement is expected by the end of the month, Gardner said.

"We'll make sure it's a type of financing that would be best for the city," she said.

Gardner said if TxDOT accepts the agreement, construction costs for the project and financing would be lower than if the project was delayed.

The city's contribution to the $47 million project is estimated at $13.9 million, with $42.3 million of the debt to be repaid by TxDOT funds that were earmarked for the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization in February. There also may be money that could be transferred from the northeast bypass project fund to the southeast bypass. Another $1 million was dedicated to this project in 2002, Gardner said.

"The excess that we've worked on securing is to cover any potential project overruns," Gardner said. "That's what TxDOT wanted us to shoot for."

After TxDOT rejected the city's application for pass-through financing in June, engineers with TxDOT's Waco District began working with city officials to revise the project in August to lower the price from $55 million down to the $47 million to $48 million range.

The Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation also committed $1.1 million to the project in September to keep a portion of the roadway that would allow access to its future development on the east side of the city. The bypass project has been under consideration for about 20 years and would create an alternative route running from U.S. Highway 190 west of Farm-to-Market 2657 to the east side of Copperas Cove.

The council also approved the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporations' $44,165 contract with T& R Fence LLC for 3,515 linear feet of barbed security fencing that would separate the 125 acres of EDC-owned property and Fort Hood.

The installation of a fence was part of the original deal with Fort Hood when the land swap was completed in June.

Contact Taylor Short at tshort@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7476. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcove.

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