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Coryell County to pursue roadIn an effort to better identify ways to make high risk roads safer in Coryell County, Maddie Todd of Natural Resources Solutions of Austin, a consulting firm that works with the county, told Coryell County Commissioners about a grant available from the U.S. Department of Transportation which can make a positive impact locally.

The Safe Roads and Streets for All grant "is essentially to help prevent deaths on area roads and streets," Todd told commissioners and County Judge Roger Miller during their June 14 meeting.

While the county has contracted with NRS to help create a database of areas where streams cross roads and cause potential hazards, "this is related to more than just flooding," she said.

The U.S. government has made a total of $5 billion available through the Safe Roads program, including $1 billion for the 2022 fiscal year.

"There are two types of grants," Todd said. "The first is to help develop an action plan to help prevent road fatalities and serious injuries, which would include focus groups, a safety analysis and would have a strong public engagement component.

"This would help you develop a comprehensive set of projects and priorities based on data. It would allow the county to think about things that can be done to fix some of these issues."

The second grant opportunity would come later, when the county works to implement ways to make area roads safer.

"The second pot of money is accessed after the first phase," Todd said.

Those receiving the grants would be given a minimum of $200,000 and a maximum of $1 million. A local 20% match is required, with 80% of the cost funded by the federal government. Applications for the grant are due Sept. 15.

"They want you to identify data on auto vehicle fatalities and serious accidents, and they provide sources where that information is available," Todd said.

"We need to visit with the highway patrol," said Commissioner Kyle Matthews. "We've gotten some information about county roads that are problems where we're having fatalities. This is important for us to put into our database.

"(The Texas Department of Transportation) is the custodian of crash reports. Obviously we'll have more information on high speed roads such as (state Highway) 36 and (U.S. Highway) 84."

Steve Manning, president of NRS, said there are plenty of opportunities for the county to benefit from federal grant money.

"There is potentially several million dollars that could come to the county if we do this (the information gathering and grant application) right," he said.

"A comprehensive strategy is the key to this," Judge Miller said. "How do we increase our ability to acquire outside funding in identifying which roads need to be upgraded. We would hopefully be able to identify those based on current use and potential future use."

Commissioner Ryan Basham voiced his support for pursuing the grant.

"If the county can make a difference with infrastructure and roads, I'm ready to move forward," he said.

Following a motion by Basham to proceed with the grant process which was seconded by Matthews, the commissioners court unanimously voted to partner with NRS on the goal.