We first saw them as opponents in a hotly contested mayoral race. Now, they are partners. That's because on Wednesday, Lubbock Mayor David Miller asked former Mayor Pro-Tem Tom Martin to continue working with the city to improve area roadways. Martin says he wants to continue seeing growth similar to what is being done on the Marsha Sharp Freeway. City leaders say Martin has been a driving force behind that project. Martin even helped cut 12-years off of the completion date.
"We basically moved the completion date from 2024 up to 2012," Martin said. Martin says that's because the city put local money into other state projects in the Lubbock area. In turn, the state put money into the Texas Mobility Fund. That money allows freeway construction to finish up sooner. As a city councilman Martin also pushed for the Milwaukee Avenue project. "Milwaukee was kind of a unique project. It was four miles of major thoroughfare that didn't exist, not even as a county dirt road," Martin said. The six people who own the land worked with the city to create what drivers see today, and crews completed the seven-lane project in just ten months. "Which is unheard of as far as the speed of a road project," Martin said.
"I could not think of anybody who had more expertise and certainly more passion for this particular area," Miller said. While he is out of local politics for the moment, Martin's work on area roads will continue. He accepted the city council's invitation to continue serving on the Ports to Plains Coalition, Tex-21 and Lubbock's Metropolitan Planning Organization. "Together, we are stronger," Miller said.
Now, Martin's focus is turned toward the future. That includes upgrading Spur 327 to freeway status, improvements to north Lubbock roads, and further in the future, a second loop for Lubbock. "That's my desire, to continue using that ability to get things done for the benefit of the citizens of Lubbock," Martin said.
Other future projects include the expansion of Slide Road south to 1585. Mayor Miller says that Martin's insight into all of these projects makes him the right man for the job. Martin will not be paid for this position. He is volunteering his time.
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