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Spurring Growth: Bowie County lands $450K for push to link TexAmericas Center to I-30, future I-69 corridors

by Junius Stone | May 27, 2018 at 2:34 a.m. | Updated May 27, 2018 at 7:48 p.m.

A spur feasibility study to enhance the transportation network assets of TexAmericas Center and Red River Army Depot is in the process of acquiring local financial support.

Bowie County has been awarded a $350,000 grant from Northeast Texas Regional Mobility Authority that will fund the spur feasibility study. An additional $100,000 in local matching funding is needed for the grant.

About two weeks ago, Texarkana, Texas, City Council pledged $25,000 of the $100,000 needed in local matching funding. TexAmericas Center and Bowie County should be considering their respective matching portions in the coming weeks.

Since 2000, TexAmericas Center industrial park created on land from Red River Army Depot and Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant has steadily added tenants, one of the most recent being Lionchase Holdings Inc.'s planned industrial freezing facility, set to begin operations December 2019. But an enterprise as large as TexAmericas Center always has more work to do, and more information is always needed. Partnering with Bowie County on the spur project will help out on this.

"When you have an industrial park, you want to be as attractive as you can be to industries looking for a place to do business," said Scott Norton, TexAmericas executive director and CEO. "One of the exciting developments in the area over the coming years will be the multiple transportation routes coming through, joining and giving even more access to road networks, ports and air transportation facilities."

The spur will help to increase TexAmericas' and RRAD's transportation infrastructure in the area. Which will increase the value of both entities.

"We've been working with the Texas Department of Transportation, Jerry Sparks and (County) Judge James Carlow to figure out the next step. As a part of the I-69 corridor study, this spur is to be the link-up in our area, running through the 9,000 acres of the former Lone Star property.

"The TexAmericas Center board set aside a 600-foot right of way along Bowie Parkway, in anticipation of a future interstate corridor," he said. "Among the things the feasibility study will examine will be this route and it eventually linking up to I-30."

The funding is the first of many steps toward making the spur a reality.

"This is just the funds to get this study going," Norton said. "It will be a long process-a series of steps setting perimeters of the project, creating proposals and eventually the selection of an entity to actually conduct the study."

Bowie County will be the agency leading on the project to put together the perimeters and eventually hire an entity to conduct the spur feasibility study itself.

"This is the first time Bowie County has had a NETRMA grant," said Norton.

"This is exciting work," said Chris Miller, executive director of the mobility authority. "When you get to consider big transportation projects like this and their potential, that really is great to contemplate."

Bowie County's spur study was selected from a 12-county area based on criteria put in place by NETRMA.

"Every calendar year, NETRMA's long-range planning committee considers project proposals from the 12 counties it represents, with funds that come largely from its operation of the Toll 49 route. We consider the projects from a series of criteria, including regional significance, local political and financial support, the potential of the project to provide regional economic development and other considerations. Basically, it is a beauty contest," he said.

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