Montgomery County Commissioners heard from several county residents and elected officials regarding the extension of Hwy. 249 as a toll road Tuesday morning. The June 13 commissioners court meeting included discussion of a resolution concerning the Hwy. 249 tollroad, a new recycling center and a expansion of police services in Precinct 5.
Here are three things to know from Tuesday’s meeting.
1. County Judge Craig Doyal said the Hwy. 249 extension into Montgomery County by the Montgomery County Toll Road Authority—which consists of the four commissioners and Doyal—will be funded by revenue bonds, not taxpayer money. If MCTRA funds construction of the road and implements a toll, the toll revenue stays within the county to fund transportation needs, he said. Should the Texas Department of Transportation construct the 3.6-mile segment through the Pinehurst area, any toll revenue from the road could be spent throughout the state for various transportation projects.
While Magnolia-area residents and officials spoke in support of MCTRA’s toll road project, other residents and elected officials like State Rep. Mark Keough, R-The Woodlands, expressed concern about Montgomery County funding construction of the road.
“The question for me is not whether [Hwy. 249] should be built but how it should be paid for,” Keough said. “Controlling one toll at one-fifth of the toll road is no control at all.”
Noack said funding the toll road is a risky investment for Montgomery County to pursue.
“Let [TxDOT] take the risk on the road,” Noack said. “If our job was to make money, I would close my community centers and reopen them as Chick-fil-As and Starbucks.”
Despite objections, the resolution passed with a 3-2 vote. Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark opposed the resolution.
2. A recycling center will open in northern Montgomery County at the end of June, Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador said. The county partnered with the city of Conroe to establish the center, which is funded by a grant, Meador said.
3. The Precinct 5 Constable’s Office plans to expand its operating hours from five days to seven days as a way to keep up with growth in the area, Chief Chris Jones said. After splitting into two divisions—with a focus on patrol responsibilities in addition to civil duties—Precinct 5 has seen an increase in arrests and traffic stops in 2017, Jones said. According to Precinct 5, more than 1,700 traffic stops were made in 2017 as of May 31, an increase from 1,704 total stops in 2016.