Local Road Projects and Stimulus Money

There is controversy tonight over which local road projects will be paid for with stimulus money from TxDOT.

The Amarillo City Commission is not happy with the current stimulus money situation.

TxDOT officials are allocating $1.2 billion in stimulus money to road projects across Texas that they deem worthy of the funds. "All we're asking for is our fair share."

In this case, the fair share Amarillo City Commissioner Jim Sims is talking about means enough money to get rid of the train tracks at 3rd and Grand in Amarillo. "It's a big problem, especially with the traffic from the coal trains now. That gets blocked too much, too often for too long."

Their solution-moving the tracks a few blocks north running underneath a bridge. The price tag-$27 million.

Sims says, "It's the cheapest solution. It's the easiest solution. The railroad is happy with it. We're tickled to death with it. All of the residences of Northeast Amarillo I'm sure will be happy with it. All we need is money."

Much to the commission's dismay, as of now, they're not getting any TxDOT money for the project.

Community Services Director Vicki Covey says, "The list of projects that was decided on or voted on preliminarily last week did not include any projects from Amarillo."

Amarillo requested six other road projects as well adding up to a total of 80 million dollars.

The TxDOT committee is meeting in Austin on Thursday to make a final decision on what projects will get money. And local officials are still holding out hope things will change.

Sims says,"We still believe it's not too late." Covey adds, "It never hurts to plead your case."

The money Amarillo is asking TxDOT for is over and above the $8 million stimulus dollars we are already on track to receive.