• September 17, 2014

Coryell County to apply for road funds

Commissioners vote to request $134,000 for projects affected by oil and gas production

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Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 4:30 am

GATESVILLE — Coryell County commissioners on Monday voted to apply for about $134,000 in matching funds available through the Texas Department of Transportation for road projects in areas affected by oil and gas production.

The legislature appropriated $225 million “to help repair or improve county roads in areas affected by energy-sector activities,” according to a letter from TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson to County Judge John Firth.

Coryell County’s share of the appropriation could increase if other eligible counties do not apply for funding by Feb. 14, the letter stated.

TxDOT estimated grant allocations for each county in the state based on a formula including weight tolerance permits, oil and gas production taxes and well completions.

Bell County is eligible for about $170,000 in matching funds, according to the formula, and Lampasas County qualifies for about $140,000.

Coryell commissioners agreed to focus funds on eligible county roads that are slated for repair by the road and bridge department. Oak Springs Road north of Copperas Cove would be one such target, Firth said.

Oak Springs Road is on the county priority list for repairs in 2015, said County Road and Bridge Administrator Allen Neel.

The road was affected by heavy traffic during natural gas exploration in that area of the county several years ago and would be “a great candidate” for funding, Neel said.

He estimated the cost of repairs to three miles of the road at $147,000.

Under the terms of the grant, the county would pay 20 percent of road projects and the state grant would cover 80 percent.

To apply for the grant, the county will have to create a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone. All projects must be located within the zone to be eligible for the grant.

To meet the application deadline of Feb. 14, the commissioners must approve the zone and road projects at their Dec. 23 meeting, Firth said. The county must publish notice of a public hearing by Dec. 28 and conduct the hearing on Jan. 6.

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