As the Denton County Judge, I want to take this opportunity to provide you with some background and the methods used to develop the Transportation Road Improvement Program - 2004 (TRIP-04).
As you know, Denton County’s population and employment continues to grow at significant rates. As more and more people chose to take advantage of all that Denton County has to offer, diligence is required to ensure that the transportation infrastructure will be in place to serve both existing and future residents. The majority of major thoroughfares within Denton County are state facilities. That fact required Denton County to work in close partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Our partnership with TxDOT has resulted in many transportation successes. To date we have been able to see the construction of SH 121 and FM 3040 begin. Additionally, almost every major roadway within Denton County is being cleared environmentally and designed for construction. Denton County’s 1991 and 1999 transportation bond programs have allowed the County to leverage approximately $80 million in County funds to bring in excess of $800 million in state and federal funding to our residents.
But much is still required to be done.
Interstate 35E is the critical transportation artery for Denton County. Most of the major east/west roadways within Denton County feed into IH 35E. Current traffic on IH 35E south of Lake Lewisville averages between 130,000 to 160,000 vehicles per day. North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) projects that by 2025, the average daily traffic on IH 35E will increase to 350,000 vehicles per day. TRIP-04 will provide a critical share of the financing for both Department of Transportation and NCTCOG programs, needed to allow this critically essential project to move forward on an accelerated schedule.
TRIP-04 will provide Denton County with the tools it needs to ensure that our roadway system will be able to accommodate the County’s future growth. But, the ability to move people throughout the region is about more than getting from "Point A" to "Point B." It is about transporting skills, commerce, and economic vitality to points where they are needed most. It is about the enhancement of both our economy and our quality of life. The development of a comprehensive and effective transportation network is critical to achieving those goals. TRIP-04 identifies the major transportation priorities and allows the County to implement them in a fashion that is most responsive to citizens’ transportation needs while at the same time being respectful of their valuable tax dollars.
On November 18, 2003, Denton County Commissioners Court tasked the Denton County Transportation Committee with the development of a new roadway bond program. The Transportation Committee was made up of 20 citizens from throughout Denton County. Each member of Commissioners Court appointed 4 members to the committee. As County Judge, I acted as the Court’s liaison to the Committee. Representatives from the TxDOT Area Office and North Central Council of Governments were also a part of the committee team. Committee members were:
Alford, Jerry W.
Roberts, Raymond D.
Commissioner Precinct Number 1
Pinnell, Ben (Chairman)
Eddy, John Paul
Sawko, Gregory J.
Smith, Jack L.
COMMISSIONER PRECINCT NUMBER 2
COMMISSIONER PRECINCT NUMBER 3
Commissioner Precinct Number 4
Henderson, Phillip L.
Talley, Curtis (V-Chairman)
Almon, Dan-Southwest Securities
Horn, Mary-County Judge
Dransfield, Bob-Fullbright and Jaworski
Elsom, Claud P.- Buz-TxDOT
Martin, John-Southwest Securities
Polster, John R.-ITS
Wells, James-County Auditor
Zwinggi, Kelly-Director - Public Works
Committee members met once a week from November 25, 2003 to February 17, 2004 at the Denton County Pre-Trial facility on McKinney in Denton, Texas. The County Judge and County Commissioners presented, in turn, proposed projects within their jurisdictional area to the committee. The Committee reviewed, discussed and analyzed the individual projects. The proposed roadway projects included both State and local facilities. Each project had to meet one or more of the following criteria: Regionally Significant/Multi-Jurisdictional, Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality, Safety, or Economic Development.
After many hours of work, on February 10, 2004, the Denton County Transportation Committee recommended the Commissioners Court approve the attached roadway projects for the Denton County 2004 Bond Package, subsequently named the Transportation Road Improvement Program - 2004 or TRIP-04. On March 9th, the Denton County Commissioners Court unanimously approved an order calling for an election on May 15, 2004 for voter consideration of the Transportation Road Improvement Program - 2004.