El Paso

County to issue $32 million in bonds for road projects

County to issue $32 million in bonds...

EL PASO, Texas - El Paso County is getting ready to put out tens of millions in new road construction bonds for more far east projects.

County Commissioners Monday approved the issuing of $32 million dollars worth of new transportation bonds that will set up the next phases to some big construction projects.

It will all be paid for by the latest revenues from the 2014 increase in vehicle registration fees. That's when commissioners voted to up the fee by $10, with all the money kept locally to fund mobility projects.

The latest projects will continue the expansion and extension of Eastlake Boulevard, turning it into a six-lane thoroughfare all the way to Darrington Road.

Overall, these projects are expected to help traffic in the area, making it easier for more people to be able to take direct routes rather than having to divert off Loop 375 or side roads.

County Commissioner Vince Perez, (D) Precinct 3 , thinks the county will keep issuing more bonds from that registration fee into the foreseeable future. Rather than raise taxes, it's basically an end-user fee, with the people using the roads paying for the needed expansions.

"For anyone who's been there on the east side, particularly in the greater Horizon area, they understand the traffic problems are there," Perez said. "So converting it to a six-lane roadway is long overdue."

The county contracts with the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority to manage and construct all the far east projects. Perez said that they're confident in the organization's ability to continue to perform well in executing them.

The CRRMA was involved in the recent scamming of more than $3 million from the city of El Paso and it's downtown streetcar project. While details on exactly what went wrong and who was at fault there aren't clear, Perez said the county has auditor controls in place to make sure similar problems can't happen there. He added that nothing has come up on their end since the city first reported the issue.

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