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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Proposition could boost area transportation funds

With increasing transportation needs in the community and state, Proposition 1 could alleviate some of the demand for highway project funding, but officials say it won’t eliminate the problem.
Proposition 1 is a proposed state constitutional amendment on Tuesday’s ballot. If passed, the proposition will move an estimated $1.7 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to the State Highway Fund in the first year alone to assist in transportation construction and maintenance projects.
Brad McCaleb, director of the Bryan-College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization, said the proposition would give a substantial amount of money to local transportation projects.
“If Proposition 1 passes, we have estimated that it could provide as much as $93.75 million in additional funding over the next 25 years for the construction of transportation projects,” McCaleb said.
Scott Haywood, president of Move Texas Forward, said Proposition 1 will not solve the transportation issues in the state, but it is the first step.
“In the first year, it is estimated to bring in $1.7 billion to the State Highway Fund, which will be a substantial first step in addressing the funding gap we have in the state,” Haywood said.
A 2008 study showed that the state’s transportation system needed $4 billion per year to maintain the existing system and another $1 billion to address additional or new facilities, McCaleb said.
“Our system has expanded since then and we have been postponing maintenance activities because these funds have not been available,” McCaleb said. “In short, Proposition 1 will not provide enough funding to even address all of our maintenance needs, much less our need to expand the transportation system. Today, the need is probably closer to $6-7 billion per year.”
McCaleb said a Metropolitan Planning Organization, MPO, is required in any city with an urbanized population that exceeds 50,000 citizens in order for the city to receive federal transportation funding. The Bryan-College Station MPO consists of five members representing the City of Bryan, the City of College Station, Brazos County, Texas A&M University and the Texas Department of Transportation.
“The MPO is primarily focused on the regional transportation system as opposed to the local transportation system,” McCaleb said. “In other words we deal with state — farm to market and state highways such as FM 1179 and SH 6 and national United States and interstate highways such as US 190 and IH 35. We also address the issues and needs related to all modes of transportation, bike, walk, transit, air, rail, et cetera.”
McCaleb said the projects currently being implemented in the region include a joint project between TxDOT and College Station to widen the Rock Prairie Bridge in College Station, and a TxDOT entrance-exit ramp conversion project. McCaleb said both Bryan and College Station are replacing traffic signals and pavement markings.

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