Heavy discussion about the future of the Marsha Sharp Freeway dominated a meeting at City Hall Tuesday morning. City and State leaders are looking at specific options on how to speed up construction and how to pay for it.
The idea of tolling the freeway generated much discussion. Construction on the Marsha Sharp Freeway is still ahead of schedule. But the current plan would mean these orange cones and speed zones don't disappear until the year 2022, but some other options were brought to the table.
The first option is the traditional funding, which is the current plan in place. This plan requires saving money, then spending it. This means the project would be complete in 2022 and would save $52 million that could be spent on other projects.
The second option is a toll option. It would be an electric tolling system for highway drivers, but drivers would have the option of avoiding the toll by taking frontage roads instead of the highway. This plan would speed up the completion date to 2016 with about $149 million to spend by 2026.
The third option is a local finance plan, this would mean the City of Lubbock, County of Lubbock and the City of Wolfforth would chip in to pay for the construction. With that plan, construction would wrap up by 2014 and accrue $76 million.
The fourth plan would be a combination of tolling and local finance money. It would mean project completion by 2009 and $134 million.
"Our position at TXDOT is to identify these options that are available to the local governments so that decisions can be made in the future when trying to build these projects at a more rapid pace and less cost," said Randy Hopmann, TXDOT District Engineer.
No decisions were made, there were just discussions of these options. The next step is for TXDOT to present this information directly to the City Council, the Wolfforth council, and other area groups and boards. They also plan to hold public forums for local citizens in may, we will of course keep you posted on dates and details of these events.
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