Commissioners put off action on reinvestment plan indefinitely - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Commissioners put off action on reinvestment plan indefinitely

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(TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Smith County commissioners put off any action — indefinitely — on a controversial transportation reinvestment zone that would have gone to help fund the expansion of Toll 49 to Lindale.

At a Dec. 12 public hearing on the TRZ, commissioners learned that while many residents supported the measure — which would redirect some future tax revenues to Toll 49 development — many residents don't.

On Monday, County Judge Joel Baker led the court in setting the TRZ aside.

"We've put off action indefinitely," Baker said. "We're going to continue to study the matter and get input from citizens, and maybe we'll see some more hearings in the summer. But for now, we're not doing anything with it."

Toll 49 is controlled and maintained by the Northeast Texas Regional Mobility Authority. Under the proposed plan, tax revenues on new construction within a mile on each side of Toll 49 would be split. Half would go toward building future segments of Toll 49. The other half would go to Smith County, as usual.

Proponents have said funding Toll 49 would attract more businesses — and thus more revenue than the county would lose. Opponents said the county shouldn't give up that tax money, because many of its own roads are in need of repair and replacement.

The TRZ has been anticipated to generate between $12.9 million and $16.9 million for Toll 49 improvements, according to the toll road authority. But Baker said a new study is being done on Toll 49 revenues, and commissioners want to see those new numbers before making any decisions.

"This isn't something we're trying to push through without study and input," he said.

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