North Houston Association calls on Harris County to use more toll road revenue on mobility projects

The North Houston Association is lobbying Harris County officials to dedicate more toll road revenue to local mobility projects.

The North Houston Association is lobbying Harris County officials to dedicate more toll road revenue to local mobility projects.

The North Houston Association, a group that advocates for projects and initiatives to support the business environment in north Harris and Montgomery counties, is asking Harris County Judge Ed Emmett to put more money toward local road projects.

The association sent a letter to Emmett in November asking him to substantially increase the amount of funds used from the toll road account for mobility projects throughout the county. The letter was signed by NHA President Jon Lindsay and Chairman Darrin Willer.

"Despite the slower economy, congestion continues to increase," they wrote. "We believe the county should, at minimum, double the amount of funds spent on mobility projects from that account."

The NHA did not cite any specific projects needing attention in the letter.

Although the toll road fund in Harris County is used for non-toll road improvements, the fund's main purposes are to pay off toll road debt, pay operating and maintenance costs and pay for improvement projects within the toll road system, Emmett said. Toll road projects underway include widening portions of the Sam Houston Tollway and extending the Hardy Toll Road downtown.

In the 2015-16 fiscal year, the Harris County Toll Road Authority brought in $824 million in total revenue and paid $423 million in expenses. The top expenses included maintenance and repair, paying off interest and paying salaries. Roughly $124 million was transferred into the county's general mobility fund.

Emmett said he could not comment on whether the county would make a significant change in the amount of toll road revenue that gets transferred, but said his financial team will look into the request and make a call before the start of the 2017-18 fiscal year beginning March 1.

"I'll look into it as will the four county commissioners," he said.

 
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


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