SURRMA making progress in first year

It's been nearly six months since the Sulphur River Regional Mobility Authority (SURMMA) has been chartered.

Comprised of Hunt, Hopkins, Delta and Lamar Counties, the SURRMA committee, overseen by the Texas Department of Transportation, helps speed up highway and other transportation projects in the region.

According to SURRMA Chairman Don Wall, participating counties are currently in the process of preparing a list of area transportation projects to be addressed over the next 20 years. Those projects can either span over neighboring counties, in one county alone, and or within a particular city.

The list is due back to SURRMA by next week. SURRMA will then prioritize that list of projects based on funding availability at this months meeting.

Another major SURRMA project is the expansion of the 10 mile stretch of Highway 24 from Cooper to the Hunt County line.

SURRMA will soon be seeking additional funding plus the purchase of right-a-way for the project before construction can begin. The expansion of the northern section of Highway 24 south of Paris is currently under construction.

Wall says the existence of such Regional Mobility Authorities, especially these days serve as a great asset. He says the service they provide are vital in helping move transportation projects forward.

According to Wall, TxDot, with current funding restraints, has become more of a maintenance organization, and can in most cases only concentrate on maintaining existing roads. Therefore, SURRMA, as well as other Regional Mobility Authorities, can provide other means of funding.

SURRMA was chartered in January. It is one of just eight Regional Mobility Authorities in the state. Their next scheduled meeting is July 16 in Greenville.