Believe it or not, Rockwall County is now composed of over 110,000 residents. 21 years ago, the population was 40,000 and only 10 years ago, it was 80,000. You see the picture; almost exponential growth every 10 years.
Projections are for the county to have 150,000 people by the year 2030, only 9 years from now. Some forecasts have called for the population by 2050 to hit 250,000; more than double our current level.
You can decide for yourself what needs to happen between now and these projected numbers becoming reality. One of the most pressing needs that will affect all of us is the road system to support the growth.
But we live in North Texas where every city and county continue to clammer for more roads to meet the increasing demand of their citizens. How in the world does TxDOT decide where the limited supply of road construction monies go?
Credit the commissioners court of the early 2000’s in helping to make sure that Rockwall County was at the head of the line when it came to allocation of funds for roads.
Specifically, credit Jerry Wimpee, Bruce Beaty, and David Magness; three county commissioners that set the model for transportation with the state and the county.
Back in the “old” days, before these three commissioners decided to address the issue of roads, each town in the county, as well as the county itself, had competing demands for what they wanted for road construction.
Unfortunately, every other town and county in North Texas had the same issue; they all wanted money for new roads.
And as expected, since there were so many demands from so many different organizations, very few ever got what they wanted because there simply were not enough State Road construction dollars to meet all the demands.
So, the three commissioners decided to approach it a different way. And that was the start of the Rockwall County Road Consortium.
Rather than every town and the county going to the state for road dollars, the consortium, which was formed, got an agreement from all parties in the county that all road requests would be centralized at the county level and only the one submission would be made.
All the road projects needed in the county were rank ordered after much discussion and negotiation with the cities and the county. This master list was then the only one used to request work from the State.
But then, after this unique approach to requesting road work, the group went one step further. A $100 million road bond was requested from the county citizens and approved.
Now when the consortium requested road work, the request went with a County Consortium commitment to provide the monies for the engineering work needed for the new construction. The state now could save all their engineering dollars for road work in Rockwall County thereby having additional dollars to commit for road construction.
This model has worked so well that now other counties in North Texas have adopted its use.
Now the initial $100 million road bond monies have been all committed. But the demand for roads certainly has not.
There will be a new $150 million road bond construction proposal on the Nov. 2 ballot. These monies are needed to continue the same type of successful implementation of new road work in Rockwall County.
Decide for yourself how you will vote. I personally am voting YES on this proposal.
Jerry Hogan is a former Rockwall County Judge and can be reached at email@example.com