BROWNSVILLE, RGV – Cameron County Commissioners Court has unanimously approved a $1.6 billion plan to fund countywide transportation infrastructure improvements.
The plan involves setting up a countywide Transportation Reinvestment Zone whereby the County dedicates a portion of the tax increment on property in the Zone to fund the development of some or all of the projects.
The funds raised from the tax increment will be leveraged with other funding sources (federal, state and local) to finance the project development, rehabilitation/reconstruction of roads, and construction of new corridors.
The plan also includes an inter-local agreement between Cameron County and the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority (CCRMA) that identifies over 50 projects that the two entities deem critical to the long term transportation infrastructure needs of the County. The vote by Commissioners Court was 4-0 in favor of the plan.
“I am extremely thankful in the continued confidence and support the County Commissioners have placed on the Board of Directors and Staff of the CCRMA,” said David E. Allex, chairman of CCRMA.
Allex said the proposed project improvements are short term, mid-term and long-term and will be built based on the project development demands and complexities of each individual project. He said the public though will start to see improvements over the course of the next 12 to 24 months at the very latest.
“This agreement paves the way for greater flexibility for the CCRMA to accomplish over fifty county wide projects without any tax increase or cost to the taxpayers while still allowing oversight and involvement by the Commissioners Court,” said County Judge Pro-Tem Alex Dominguez.
Dominguez said the agreement will enable the CCRMA and the County to keep local control and oversight of project development as they work with the Federal Highway Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation to build roads, highway, bridges, and other added improvements to address the transportation needs of the county.
County Commissioner David A. Garza, a specialist in transportation planning, said the transportation projects that will promote safety, support development, and facilitate the movement of traffic in Cameron County.
“This is a big deal for Cameron County as it represents the largest infusion of local dollars for transportation investments that I can ever think of. When I am in D.C. or Austin visiting with top transportation officials I make it a point to stress that Cameron County has skin in the game. We are pouring in our resources to get projects shovel ready and to construction.”
Garza said the annual tax increment available to the CCRMA will be capped at 25 percent.
Cameron County Administrator David A. Garcia said county staff and the CCRMA will be working to keep the public apprised of the Transportation Reinvestment Zone plan and prepare presentations to show the level of major infrastructure improvements being made in Cameron County.
To avoid any perceptions over conflicts of interest, Cameron County Judge Pete Sepulveda, Jr., was not present for Tuesday’s vote or for any of the negotiations on the Transportation Reinvestment Zone. Sepulveda is executive director of CCRMA.