Camp and Cass Counties are closer to becoming a part of the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority – NET RMA – after Smith County Commissioners passed a resolution during a recent meeting.
Commissioner Terry Phillips was absent from the meeting; however, the vote was unanimous from the present members of the Commissioners Court.
NET RMA oversees toll road matters in a 12-county East Texas area, including Loop 49 and its extension, the Lindale Relief Route, scheduled for completion later this year.
County judges in Bowie, Kaufman, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Panola, Rusk, Smith, Titus, Upshur, Wood and Van Zandt Counties appoint board of directors for NET RMA. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appoints the chairman of the board.
NET RMA Executive Director Chris Miller said it could take up to a year to have both new counties added to the board.
Both counties, Miller said, would provide vital links within the NET RMA. State Highway 271 runs through Camp County and connects Lindale and this region with cities such as Gladewater, Gilmer and Pittsburg.
Cass County would link Henderson County and Bowie County with U.S. Highway 59 as its main artery.
NET RMA’s long range vision is the extension of Highway 69 and the additions of Camp and Cass Counties would be vital, Miller said.
“If you look at a map of our jurisdictions, you’ll see a gap,’’ Miller said. “So (the adding of the two counties) is a natural fit for them to be members of our organization.’’
Miller noted NET RMA officials discussed the addition with county judges in those two counties and they were interested “in being a part of the process.’’
Commissioner Jeff Warr asked Miller about the financial impact on Smith County of adding the counties to NET RMA.
“There’s no negative impact, no impact financially,’’ Miller said. “It’s really an advantage to add these counties. It will add more muscle (the the organization).’’
Prior to the vote, Warr expressed appreciation to fellow commissioner Jo Ann Hampton for her role in helping the Loop 49 project get off the ground.
“I think we need to thank Commissioner Hampton because without her efforts there still wouldn’t be a Loop 49,’’ he said. “We now have all those cars off county roads and it’s (proven to be) the right decision.’’