Sugar Land City Council recently voted to approve an advanced funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for improvements to the city’s wireless communication system—which works to time lights and mitigate traffic. While the move at the April 6 meeting does not officially approve the expense itself, it brings the city one step closer to implementing the updates and receiving partial reimbursement for the project through the advanced funding agreement with TxDOT.
“[It has] reached the end of its useful life and needed to be addressed," said Andrea Broughton, Sugar Land assistant city engineer. “[The updates are] needed for the operation of a couple of critical items throughout the city—which includes the traffic system of signals, pre-emption used by emergency service vehicles and synchronized timing plans to provide efficient movement of traffic.”
The grant from TxDOT will support upgrading the network, replacing hardware, the license plate recognition technologies for police, and data acquisition improvements for water and wastewater infrastructure operations. Now that the city has approved an advanced funding agreement, it can move forward with the updates.
In 2018, the city’s engineering department applied for the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Grant to fund replacement of the aged hardware. That application was approved in August 2020. The grant is for $2,339,943, of which the city will cover 20% of—or $467,989. If Sugar Land covers that 20%, the other 80%—or $1,871,954—will be covered by TxDOT. Advanced funding agreements, which need approval from city governments, are required when receiving grant funds from TxDOT.
The project’s start date is pending the official approval from council, which is expected sometime in May. The advanced funding agreement is on City Council’s May 4 agenda with the materials expense as an agenda item at the May 18 meeting.