Ever wonder how the Collin County Bond Priorities Are Set?

If you wonder how the County funds are allocated, below is some information on how the process works. As the Transportation bond proposal is the most complex of the three and directly addresses Collin County’s most critical issue – traffic mobility/congestion – this discussion explains the Transportation proposal.

  • The Commissioners Court appointed a 37 person committee representing cities and towns throughout the county to develop a proposed transportation bond program. This committee was supported by an independent consultant as well as city/town and county staffs.
  • The committee was exceptionally well staffed to make recommendations: many staff members were professional engineers, the consultant was a large, highly respected engineering firm, one of the co-chairs has a PhD in civil engineering, another co-chair, a former mayor, led the two prior transportation bond programs and hence has an intimate knowledge of the roads in the county, and Commissioner Jack Hatchell is a professional traffic engineer.
  • Joint county and city funding and the use of a citizens committee representing numerous cities/towns assure the funds are spent wisely—where it is most needed to relieve current and future congestion.
  • The Commissioners Court gave guidance that included a budget of about $200 million for 2007 county bond funds, not to include funding for projects eligible for sharing of NTTA revenues (Comprehensive Development Agreement or CDA funds) or state reimbursement funds (pass through funding), and submit recommendations by mid June.
  • The county and the cities and towns initially submitted 180 projects totaling $1.3 billion. This listed the roads most needed to minimize congestion caused by local, county-wide, and through traffic over the next 5 years or longer. These projects were then screened primarily against the following criteria:

– The road must be included on the County’s 2007 Mobility Plan to assure the road is or will be a significant thoroughfare critical to county as well as city/town traffic.
– Capable of a construction start within 5 years to assure the project will have a relatively near term impact.
– Must add capacity and/or provide operational improvement
– City/town funding available for at least 50% of the project cost thereby leveraging the ability of the county and the city/towns to improve both countywide and city/town traffic flows. Without such leveraging many projects would not be affordable at the city/town level.
– Must result in a fair, balanced program county-wide
– Total county bond participation costs of approximately $200 million

The projects surviving the screening were evaluated by the consultant and prioritized by the committee on the following criteria:
– Population growth trends
– Average daily traffic volumes for year 2030
– Congestion factor (volume/capacity)
– Cost efficiency (cost/vehicle miles)

The result of this intensive evaluation and discussion is a transportation bond program of 113 projects in19 cities and towns, as well as the county, totaling $235.6 million in county funds. When the city and town funding is included, this totals $484.7 million in transportation improvement benefits to the citizens of Collin County. This is 17.8% over the Commissioners Court’s original guidance to the Transportation Committee. The county’s increasing growth and resulting traffic issues are so critical, the additional projects represented by this overage are warranted and will not increase the county’s tax rate or adversely impact the county’s AAA bond rating. This is summarized as follows:

The proposed transportation improvements were approved by 100% of the committee and also approved for voter consideration by the Commissioners Court in a 4 to 1 vote. The four Commissioners, including one who is a traffic engineer, approving the bond package were those who were most experienced with county affairs. The newly elected county judge was the only person to vote against this beneficial package.

The above information has been reviewed by the three co-chairs of the committee.

Vote FOR the Collin County Bond Proposal
Election day November 6th
Early voting starts October 22nd.

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