The roads in Montague Co. are still in horrible condition. Oil and gas trucks continue to tear them up, but help is on the way.
Texas Senate Bill 1747 is going give $225 million to the Texas counties that have had their roads nearly destroyed from the gas and oil companies. Montague Co. is going to receive about $2.5 million from the bill, but that money is not guaranteed.
Montague Co. Judge Tommie Sappington said an Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone or TRZ needs to be created first and it will take about 60 days to set up.
TRZ's aren't that easy to setup. Montague Co. will have to hold a public hearing to inform everyone of zone. Their public hearing will be held on December 23rd, and won't be able to officially approve it until 30 days after the hearing.
"Then there will be an advisory board made up of three oil men in the county that are land owners, then we would like 2 citizens within that zone [to be on the board]," said Judge Sappington.
The next step involves determining a tax increment and establishing a tax increment account. The county will also need to pledge that all of the revenue created by the increase in value of the property in the zone will go to repairing the roads only within the zone. However, Judge Sappington said the taxes within the zone will remain the same.
Along with creating a TRZ. Montague Co. will have to provide the Texas Department of Transportation a road condition report.
Montague Co. has hired a firm to do their application. The county just wants to make sure it gets its application is correct and turned in on time.
Judge Sappington said the county might start to receive money by March. The money that the county does receive can be used on any road in the county with damage from the oil and gas trucks.
"I don't think there is going to be a problem in commissioners splitting the money. They're all on board that Precinct 1 should get more because that's where the damage is... but as far a dividing it up, its a 20 percent match," said Judge Sappington. Each precinct will have to pay for 20 percent of each project.
Even though the county is going to receive a lot of money to fix their roads. Sappington said it's only going to put a dent in the problem. The county would need close to $16 million dollars to repair everything.
Here is a list of other counties in Texoma that could receive funding from SB 1747.