Rural Parker County , west of Fort Worth ’s Tarrant County, could soon join the neighboring regional planning organization known as the North Central Texas Council of Governments, officials say.
NCTCOG, which includes Dallas, Fort Worth , and surrounding suburbs, is the policy-setting body for regional transportation projects that use state and federal funds. Currently NCTCOG’s transportation subgroup, the Regional Transportation Council, is studying a loop around the entire DFW area that would involve Parker County . At least part of the loop would be tollways operated by the North Texas Tollway Authority, under current plans.
At a meeting at the Parker County Courthouse in Weatherford last week, Michael Morris, director of transportation for NCTCOG, discussed the possibility of expanding the so-called Metropolitan Planning Area to include all of Parker County .
Morris said he expects Parker County to join the urbanized area within the next 20 years. Mobility 2008, the region’s $71 billion financial plan for future transportation projects, calls for the new metro loop to run along the eastern edge of the county.
Parker County currently shares a representative seat on the Regional Transportation Council with other counties outside NCTCOG’s core planning area. If it joined the council, it would have its own seat. The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is the nation’s fourth largest metro area, with a population of more than six million in 2006. Parker County ’s population of less than 200,000 is expected to more than triple in the next 22 years, with the county seat of Weatherford growing to more than 40,000.