POSTED: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 - 9:32pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 4:10am
How did East Texas fare?
The federal stimulus package has been controversial to say the least.
So, where did it go and specifically, how did East Texas fair in the stimulus sweepstakes?
The American recovery and reinvestment act totaled $787-billion.
Texas got $8-billion of that, and Smith and Gregg counties together received a little over a hundred million dollars.
The overwhelming majority of that money went to roads, but the two counties had very different priorities.
Smith County received just over $90-million, and $74-million of that went to Loop 49.
"Typical bureaucracy.” Says TxDot critic Hank Gilbert of Whitehouse. “We continually put money down black holes and things we know that don't work."
There were some other projects both road and airport, but the loop got the lions share.
The project has been the subject of some controversy, but TxDot says it will ultimately pay off.
"Why put more money into toll roads,” he told us, “when they are obviously not making money, they're losing money and they have to be continuously subsidized. Why not look at more mass transit, things that are going to move people more efficiently and more cleanly."
TxDot spokesman Larry Krantz says ridership is up and as the tollway is lengthened more drivers will take advantage of it.
"They're sinking money into a toll road that nobody wants to use," according to Gilbert.
Gregg county got roughly $25-million, and that was spent on some road work, airport improvements and infrastructure, but almost half went to clean up the old Garland Creosoting pollution site, according to County Judge Bill Stoudt.
"Creosote they found out, was a very toxic coating for timber,” Stoudt says, “and evidently they left quite a mark out there on the ground. Now if they clean it up, then it could be a useful piece of property."
The section of Loop 49 paid for by stimulus money will join Highway 155 with Highway 31.
And Krantz told us a new section will begin soon linking Paluxy to 110, and both new sections should be open by 2013.