Sublette County will pick up the $10,000 local share for scoping out a project to improve a stretch of widely used Fremont Lake Road, county commissioners decided Tuesday.
Only Commissioner Joel Bousman voted against spending money for the scoping study, saying he didn’t like the way the town of Pinedale had passed the project on to the county after initiating a grant application through the Federal Highway Administration’s Federal Lands Access Program.
The Pinedale Town Council voted to last week not to supply the $10,000 local match for the scoping work, but said that if Sublette County picks up that cost, and also commits to funding the non-federal share of the actual road project, then the city would maintain the improved road by plowing it in winter, for example. The city has water treatment facilities at the end of that stretch of road, so it stands to benefit if the road is improved.
The project would improve about 1.5 miles of Fremont Lake Road that is widely used for recreation. It is short-listed as a so-called FLAP project. Most of the money to improve the road would come from the federal government, but the project needs a $10,000 local match for the scoping work, as well as a 9.5 percent local match of the actual construction costs, if and when the project moves forward.
Tuesday’s action by the county commission dealt solely with the $10,000 for the scoping work, but commissioners also discussed a way to pay for the road project if it proceeds – using so-called Consensus Block Grant money. Those are funds distributed to the counties through the state of Wyoming that require agreement among the county and town governments on how to spend the funds.
Pinedale Mayor Bob Jones and Town Council member Matt Murdock, both of whom attended Tuesday’s commission meeting, agreed with commissioners that the project would be a good way to use consensus funds.
Barbara Boyce, a former town council member who also attended the commission meeting, urged commissioners to move ahead with the project, saying it was a chance to benefit the entire county.
“Let’s don’t kick the can down the road anymore. Let’s do it,” Boyce said.
FLAP supplements state and local resources by targeting roads and other transportation infrastructure in or near federal lands, or that provide access to federal lands.
In a similar action at Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners accepted the scoping agreement for phase 2 of the Skyline Road project, a separate FLAP project. The lower part of that Skyline Road project is already done. As with the Fremont Lake Road project, the county must kick in $10,000 as the local share of that scoping work, and if the project moves forward, would have to find a 9.5 percent local match.