Tommy Woolley, director of development and infrastructure for the city of Conroe, said during a Nov. 9 workshop meeting that the Houston-Galveston Area Council has committed to fund 15% of the first advanced funding agreement concerning the design aspect of improvements to Old Conroe Road. According to previous reporting, Old Conroe Road will be connected to Sgt. Ed Holcombe Boulevard South with a pair of bridges across Lake Creek and the West Fork of the San Jacinto River. Sgt. Ed Holcombe Boulevard and Old Conroe Road will both be widened from two to four lanes to relieve congestion. The project will contain medians and intermittent sidewalks.

However, Woolley said Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley cannot contribute more funds to the multiagency project until the county calls a road bond to provide more funding for road projects across Montgomery County if approved by voters. Woolley said this leaves a lot of money for the city to have to cover for the Old Conroe Road project.

"It was always anticipated the 20% local match would be shared between the city and the county," Woolley said in a Nov. 17 interview. "But Commissioner Riley can't make a commitment until the road bond is passed. ... He's always said he's [going to] work with us, but he has to get that road bond approved before he can pay his 10%."

In a Dec. 5 phone interview with Riley, he said when and if a road bond package is approved by Montgomery County voters, he plans to pay Conroe $24 million toward the Old Conroe Road project. However, Riley said he needs the county to call a road bond and voters to approve a road bond to have the funds for the project.

Riley said he hopes there will be a road bond called by county commissioners in 2023. The county's last road bond was approved by voters in 2015.

"The city of Conroe, they said they could fund all of the construction, but it would hurt them," Riley said. "But they could do that until I could get the money to reimburse them half of the construction cost, so I think it's the new City Council people not understanding what the agreement was."

Woolley said the current local match that Conroe would have to provide is $48 million to receive federal funding for the project.

"Without the county funding their 50%, I would be very reluctant to commit our funds knowing that we could be responsible for 100% of it," Council Member Marsha Porter said during the Nov. 9 workshop.

According to Woolley, the project is still slated to take place; however, the city will be going back to the H-GAC to request more funding.