The city is working to grab their piece of the pie when it comes to the United States Transportation Bill. One target area they're working to get funds for is the Marsha Sharp Project. The $450 million freeway will make it easier for drivers to access the downtown area, hospitals, and Texas Tech University from the South Loop to Interstate 27. But it's the final one-third of the project that still needs funding. That's where Washington comes in.
"Until the final dollar is appropriated to build the freeway into completion we'll have big sections of the freeway maybe sitting there with frontage roads but no main lanes," explains Lubbock City Councilman Tom Martin.
The city is asking for $51 million from the Federal Transportation Bill to help fund the Marsha Sharp Project. Councilman Martin recently traveled to Washington to claim the city's portion for the project's final phases.
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"Right now there's a little more than $100 million that's currently unfunded and the state's telling us it won't be until 2020 that the freeway is finished," explains Martin.
Since part of phase three and all of phase four of the Marsha Sharp Project remains unfunded, the city is asking for $110 million in state and federal funding to help finish the project an estimated ten years ahead of schedule.
"Obviously if we can get half of the money appropriated in this transportation bill hopefully the state will be able to put their allocation in sooner," says Martin.
Marsha Sharp Freeway Seeks Funding for Final Phases
Construction of the Marsha Sharp Freeway continues to move along, but there is one potential snag along the way.
In addition, the city is asking for $30 million for other projects related to the freeway. By May, Councilman Martin says the city will know how much congress will grant the city.
"We'd like to get the entire $51 million we've requested from Marsha Sharp. We think that the money is there, we think we've made our case and we'll just see now," explains Martin.
The state is also seeking $950 million for projects related to the Ports to Plains Project. Monday, the house will begin the process of deciding what will go into the federal transportation bill.