By Karolyn Gephart
The Smith Ranch Road widening project has received a new advanced funding agreement (AFA).
The new AFA will require the termination of previous AFAs and it arrives in part due to changes in funding sources for Right of Way acquisition.
According to city officials, funding sources were changed from State Surface Transportation Program – Metropolitan Mobility funds to Federal Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) funds for right of way line items.
The widening project expands and improves the two-lane asphalt road into a four-lane concrete curb and gutter road.
New features include sidewalks, raised medians, storm sewers, landscaping, and fiber connectivity.
The Smith Ranch Road expansion will be an important part of the access to the 288 Toll Lanes being completed as well as an improvement to the north/south access parallel to the 288 Corridor.
In 2013, Smith Ranch Road was selected by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) to receive funding from federal and state transportation funds through the Transportation Improvement Program. The funding would be 80 percent allocated from those funds, and the remaining 20 percent funded by the City.
City staff began working with TxDOT and HGAC to secure a new funding revision after finding out that the state funding was no longer allowed for right-of-way acquisition.
The City’s funding allocation and 20 percent participation remains unchanged from the previous agreement. City staff had new or updated AFA articles from changes to the Civil Rights Compliance language and Non-Discrimination statues that had to be met for federal funding to occur.