PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

June 25, 2010

TxDOT / Chambers County move forward with proposed highway


The Port Arthur News

—  The state’s transportation agency took a major step toward the construction of a new highway in northern Chambers County. The Texas Transportation Commission, Thursday, approved a pass-through financing agreement to extend FM 1409.  The proposed $20 million project includes extending FM 1409 from FM 563 at Old River-Winfree to FM 563 south of Interstate 10.

 

“This is a major milestone in improving transportation and mobility in one of the fastest growing areas of the district,” said Randy Redmond, Beaumont District Engineer. “It’s the close-knit partnerships with local elected officials that made the first pass-through financing project in the Beaumont District possible.”

 

“It’s important we all work together to serve the needs of Chambers County and the rest of Southeast Texas,” said Judge Jimmy Sylvia, Chambers County Judge. “Extending FM 1409 with pass-through financing helps solve our transportation problems when money is hard to come by.”

 

Pass-through financing allows local communities to fund up-front costs for constructing a state highway project. The state then reimburses a portion of the project costs to the community over time based on a fee for each vehicle using the highway. Thursday’s approval by the commission allows TxDOT and Chambers County to begin negotiating terms to repay the county in building the highway.

 

Texas approved pass-through financing as a tool to help stretch limited highway funds. It also allows local officials reprioritize and accelerate projects important to the region.

 

The project is one of 11 around the state approved by commissioners at an estimated total cost of $280 million.