Just 35 of the nearly 200 projects submitted to the TPC in 2018 were recommended for funding in late March, as less than $1 billion was available for H-GAC funding, Clark said. The H-GAC allots federal funds to transportation projects submitted by local governments and other eligible project sponsors.
Clark said while the projects in Tomball and Magnolia did not make the cut, both projects are still on H-GAC’s 2045 Regional Transportation Plan—a long-range plan prioritizing regional projects over the next 20 years.
He said the hope is for construction timelines not to be delayed by much, if at all.
“[The reason we added them to the 2045 RTP] is so the project sponsors could either independently or, most likely, work with the Texas Department of Transportation [to] advance them so they are ready for implementation when the next opportunity for funding comes around,” he said.
The H-GAC calls for project submissions approximately every two years, but there is no set date at this time, Clark said.
However, Clark said the Tomball and Magnolia projects could be prioritized should funds become available.
“We want to work with the local project sponsors to try to get these projects ready for funding because in the case of delays in a funded project with a similar cost, we can potentially move those funds to a project like FM 2920 or the Magnolia Relief Route,” he said.
FM 2920 widening
Two segments of FM 2920 were submitted by TxDOT for the 2018 Call for Projects, according to H-GAC information. The projects propose widening the road between Business 290 and Cypress Rosehill Road to a four-lane divided roadway and widening the road to six lanes with a center median between Cypress Rosehill Road and Hwy. 249.
“We are going to continue to look for funding because we feel the project is very important,” TxDOT Public Information Officer Emily Black said in an email. “In the meantime, we have been making safety improvements in the FM 2920 corridor, including many improvements on FM 2920 from [Business] 290 to [Cypress] Rosehill [Road].”
Clark said the FM 2920 widening projects are much needed to provide traffic relief in the area. Annual average daily traffic counts on FM 2920 just east of Cypress Rosehill Road increased by 1,117 vehicles from 2016-17, according to TxDOT information.
Magnolia Relief Route
In Magnolia, Montgomery County officials worked with TxDOT to submit the Magnolia Relief Route, an almost $50 million project, to H-GAC for funding. The project would construct a four-lane divided roadway around the north side of the city of Magnolia from the ongoing extension of Hwy. 249 to the existing FM 1488 lanes west of the city, according to TxDOT information.
The project’s goal is to improve safety, decrease traffic congestion and improve mobility along FM 1488, Black said.
“[The] construction timeline is to be determined as funding becomes available. As with all unfunded projects, this will delay project development and implementation,” she said.
However, Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley said he plans to work with TxDOT to secure funding for the project. Riley spoke during a Realtor Developer Breakfast event hosted by the city of Magnolia on April 24.
“[The Magnolia Relief Route] is going to get funded this year one way or another. It’s a must-have project. It’s been needed for years,” he said.
Traffic on FM 1488 east of FM 1774 has increased by nearly 3,000 vehicles from 2013-17, according to annual average daily traffic counts by TxDOT.
“This isn’t one of those projects that’s going to suck Magnolia dry by putting in a bypass or relief route around the city. It’s just going to improve the situation for current and future residents,” Riley said.