The Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization Technical Advisory Board recently granted initial approval for a proposed two-year program budget for 2018 and 2019. The Unified Planning Work Program outlines the SDMPO’s internal planning and administrative expenses and acts as a budget for the organization.

SDMPO Director Clay Barnett said he made changes to the way the budget is laid out with this cycle in anticipation of upcoming plans. With the approval, the proposed $556,000 program budget has been forwarded to the policy board to be released for public comment and to the organization’s funding partners.

“I did cut as much as I could to save as much as I could for the MTP (Metropolitan Transportation Plan),” Barnett said, referring to the upcoming update to the SDMPO’s 25-year list of proposed projects.

The proposed budget calls for $74,391 to be spent on the MTP and an update to the SDMPO’s bicycle and pedestrian plan during 2018 and 2019. Every two years the SDMPO is also required to update its short-range Transportation Improvement Plan

In addition to this, Barnett said the SDMPO has also set aside funds in 2018 for work on a countywide thoroughfare plan.

“It is a plan for the entire Grayson County to see where major roads should go,” Barnett said, noting this will plan for the full build-out of the county road infrastructure. “The purpose for this is that as Grayson County grows, there will be a well thought out network of roadways in place.”

In the current budget, the SDMPO has budgeted about $190,000 for the plan, with an additional $30,000 slated for 2018. Barnett said he expected to hire a consultant for the project this May, and have the plan completed in about nine months.

Beyond the many planning projects slated for this cycle, Barnett said this will be the first time in nearly a decade that TAPS Public Transit has participated in regional transit planning. The transit agency is expected to participate in $14,000 of long-range transit planning using local-match funds and money from the Federal Transportation Administration.

These funds will be used to develop a fixed-route service plan in the county’s urbanized areas and define parameters for an acceptable level of service.

“I appreciate TAPS and the relationship they have in this and congratulate them on their road to recovery,” Barnett said.