EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Three East Texas counties will receive funding for transportation projects through grants from the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority.
This year’s grants total $635,000 and were awarded to Gregg, Rusk and Wood counties, according to a press release from NET RMA. The money comes from revenue generated by Toll 49. This is the fifth year NET RMA has provided the Priority Project grants, but it’s the first time the grants have included airport and rail projects, according to the agency.
Gregg County will use its $270,000 grant for enhancements at the intersection of Hawkins Parkway and Good Shepherd Way. The Parkway will be widened to accommodate left turn lanes at the intersection, according to NET RMA. The project will also include the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection.
Rusk County’s county will put its $240,000 grant toward the Henderson-Overton Shortline Branch Rail, which connects Henderson to the Union Pacific Railroad mainline at Overton. The upgrades will help maintain safety and speed standards, provide safe and consistent customer service to rail customers and support the economy by ensuring freight goods continue to move in and out of Rusk County, according to the press release.
Wood County is receiving $125,000 the County plans to use to make upgrades to Wood County Collins Field Airport. That project includes, doubling the aircraft parking area, making drainage improvements and updating the long-term airport layout plan. The airport project will play a significant role in attracting new businesses and industries to the area through ease of travel for job creators, according to NET RMA.
“It is exciting to see member counties thinking out of the box when making a submission for a NET RMA Priority Projects grant,” said NET RMA Interim Executive Director Everett Owen. “Each project is unique and merits the support of the NET RMA to bring increased mobility, economic development and safety in the East Texas Region.”
The counties receiving grants were selected by NET RMA’s Member Outreach Committee. Committee members scored each county application base on several key factors: regional significance, local and political support, local financial support, economic development potential and potential revenue production, according to NET RMA.
“This was one of our goals from the start—to keep revenues local and to reinvest those funds in a meaningful way," said NET RMA Chair Linda Thomas.