LAMPASAS — County officials are considering the establishment of a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone for continued road improvements throughout the county.

Lampasas Commissioners held a public hearing Monday evening, which was the first step toward applying for CETRZ program funding if they choose to proceed.

CETRZ is a county transportation infrastructure fund grant program of the Texas Department of Transportation.

The program was originally designed to help offset maintenance costs for counties that pursue natural gas and oil production exploration and production facilities but was expanded to include counties that experience roadway damage due to heavy truck traffic.

Although Lampasas County does not produce a lot of gas and oil resources, it is under the inclusion of heavy truck traffic and county officials discussed the need to obtain funding for road repairs.

“As this progressed through TxDOT, it was determined that some counties, like Lampasas, may not have oil and gas explorations, so they redefined (the CERTZ program) and said it could also be used for roads that have any type of heavy truck traffic, and we do have some of that,” County Judge Wayne Boultinghouse said.

Officials identified roads in the eastern and western portions of the county, such as County Road 3300, that are in need of repair.

TxDOT has $450 million designated for infrastructure development to be divided among applicable counties, and half the money, about $224.5 million was allotted for the CERTZ program.

“In my conversations with TxDOT, they told me that if we’re approved, we’re guaranteed no less than $139,839,” County Auditor Chris Munn said.

Munn said the county would need to match any received funds at 20 percent, and the best way to proceed would be to estimate repair costs and identify parcel zones included in the scope of the project.

If commissioners decide to submit an application to TxDOT for CERTZ funding, the next step would be to form a five-member advisory committee board of directors. Application guidelines require the board to consist of three oil and gas representatives and two public members.

Munn said the county currently has $28,000 to apply to road projects and advised the project is “very doable.”

During the public hearing, Boultinghouse told officials they have 30 days to decide whether to pursue the project and establish an advisory board. The program application period is Feb. 7-14.

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