Nacogdoches officials discuss funding options for Interstate 69

Nacogdoches officials discuss funding options for Interstate 69
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The proposed Interstate 69 project took center stage at the Nacogdoches City Council meeting Tuesday night.

The council discussed a proposal to agree with TXDOT on the proposed route of the project. The council said the proposed route will take the interstate from the intersection of Highway 59 and the south loop around the west loop and up to the intersection of 59 and Highway 259.

"I don't think people are going to be able to imagine the positive results because of I 69," said mayor Roger Van Horn.

The plans discussed at the meeting also included the construction of a connector ramp from 59 to the west loop.

The project's cost on Nacogdoches and the county will be large. it is estimated at $21 million, with $6 million of that being charged to the city.

"It will cost, but we need change," Van Horn said. "There will be an increased flow of products from the gulf because of increased shipments to the ports. Those shipments will be going through East Texas."

Van Horn said to cover the cost they will need to find a new stream of revenue.

"We don't have a state income tax," Van Horn said. "That can be good, but it still doesn't change the need of funds for projects."

City officials say the best way to form a new stream of income is to increase the road and bridges fee charged to residents. Right now, the fee is $10 per year. The proposal calls for an increase to $20 per year. The  change would result in an added $500,000 per year. City Manager Jim Jeffers said the proposed rate would not go into effect until the project started and would only go until the $21 million was raised.

"It's going to have a term limit after the road is built but I don't want people to think it is going to be three years," Van Horn said.
The proposed rate change would not happen unless it passed a special election by the residents of Nacogdoches. Jeffers said the special election could not happen until the state legislature approves the plan for a special election.
"I'd say six months to a year [is what it will take]," Jeffers said. "I think it would be a full year before you actually see a vote, and that's if the legislature approves."
Jeffers told council members construction on the project could start as early as 2017 or 2018.
Copyright 2014 KTRE. All rights reserved.