Hidalgo group to fight for state program

WESLACO — The Hidalgo County Metropolitan Planning Organization is looking to send a small delegation to Austin in August to meet with Gov. Greg Abbott, state representatives and others.

The agency is currently designated as an Economically Disadvantaged County, which is a program the Texas Department of Transportation created in 1997 to help areas like Hidalgo with federal funding.

There is a 20 percent to 80 percent matching program for federal funding. The EDC program reduces that 20 percent. It varies per project, but through the EDC program, TxDOT splits the 20 percent cost with municipalities.

A hypothetical example: San Juan has a $10 million project. Officials apply for the EDC and get it approved. They work out a 5 percent to 15 percent deal with TxDOT, so San Juan would pay $500,000 and TxDOT would pay the remaining $1.5 million. The 5 and 15 percent figures vary depending on how municipalities work things out with TxDOT.

The EDC program exists not only to help these counties that are designated economically disadvantaged but also smaller towns like San Juan, Pharr and Alamo.

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