County officials want to work with city representatives collectively as the Regional Mobility Authority, a group that will lobby the state with a plan to fund transportation infrastructure locally. El Manana made mention of this issue yesterday and the story included a picture of Jaime Canales. In speaking with him about it, he clarified that the RMA includes Judge Danny Valdez and Commissioner John Galo; Mr. Canales supports the group and their idea for new road funding.
The Regional Mobility Authority wants to charge $10 for each vehicle registration in Webb County. When I read the story yesterday I wasn't sure whether that meant $10 for an automobile purchase, or $10 extra when we renew our plates with the tax assessor/collector. Commissioner Canales said the extra fee would be assessed every year when we renew our tags.
Before they can do this, they have to get approval from the state. The group wants to have say-so over what projects will be funded within Webb County. When I expressed my concern about the new tax, Mr. Canales seemed confident in the approach, saying that the people of Webb County and Laredo would support the increase in fees if it meant better roadways for our commutes.
The Dept. of Transportation conveyed to him that they are strapped for cash. Because of this, Webb County has to find a way to keep up with the needs of the community. Tom Wade (WakeUpLaredo) lamented last week the use of infrastructure dollars, saying that the DOT doesn't necessarily spends its budget wisely.
Currently the TX legislature is looking to tap into the rainy day fund to provide money for road work. If they decide to do so, they'll place the item on the November ballot to let the voters decide. The ideas are there, both from the local and state level. We'll have to keep watch for what eventually transpires.
UPDATE: LaredoTejas blogs about the Texas statute concerning the creation of a Regional Mobility Authority. The city looks to be on board this project.