AUSTIN, TX (News Release) - In a unanimous decision Thursday, the Texas Transportation Commission voted to revise the 2012 Unified Transportation Plan (UTP), formally allocating approximately $1.6 billion to communities across the state using existing funding formulas. The remaining $400 million will be allocated to transportation projects selected by the Transportation Commission focusing on strategic partnerships and statewide connectivity.
The Transportation Commission and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) leadership are encouraging partners to select projects that meet important local needs, while leveraging the states limited resources with other available funds or opportunities to achieve the greatest benefit possible for each community.
"These funds will help local leaders throughout the state address local transportation priorities, while also addressing our concerns about safety and traffic congestion," said Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ted Houghton. "Thanks to early coordination with our local partners, the state's Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and TxDOT's districts will be able to put these dollars to work on important projects quickly."
The $2 billion in allocations are comprised of Texas Mobility Fund bond proceeds, anticipated federal funding and savings on construction projects currently under way. TxDOT will work in partnership with Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and districts to identify projects that focus on safety, congestion, maintenance and statewide connectivity in the coming months.
"Together with our public and private sector partners, the department has previously leveraged investments of limited state resources to advance more than $10 billion in North Texas transportation improvements," added Bill Meadows, a Texas Transportation Commission member from Fort Worth. "It is my hope that our local partners will realize the opportunity here to leverage this $2 billion into a much greater impact for Texas communities."
"Our $2 billion is expected to deliver more than $4 billion in projects, plus additional opportunities beyond this," said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. "This is a tremendous opportunity for TxDOT to work with our partners in a way that has a significant impact on our states mobility challenges."
For example, TxDOT intends to partner with local MPOs and regional transportation agencies to accelerate and build projects such as Sections 3A/3B of the North Tarrant Express, I-35E in Dallas and US 290 in Houston. Moreover, $300 million from TxDOT will leverage a $1.2 billion project for I-35E. For sections 3A and 3B of the NTE, a $100 million TxDOT investment leverages a $1.3 billion project. And $400 million in TxDOT funding leverages $1.4 billion for US 290 in Houston.
Across the state, $800 million of the funds will go toward addressing metropolitan congestion, nearly $650 million toward MPOs and rural connectivity, $150 million to strategic projects identified by TxDOT districts, more than $200 million to statewide connectivity, and $200 million to strategic partnerships.
TxDOT announced the availability of approximately $2 billion in funds in February and immediately began work with local transportation leaders to receive input on options for allocating the funds and collect ideas for potential priority projects that could move forward quickly. Meanwhile, TxDOT gathered public comments on the proposed UTP revision, capped off by a public hearing on April 19.
Continued coordination between TxDOT, local and federal officials is necessary before projects can begin. Public involvement activities related to these funds are ongoing and specific projects will be identified by local partners and approved by the Commission by late summer.