Texas advances $85B road-building plan

Dive Brief:

  • The Texas DOT will spend a record $85 billion on roadway construction and other transportation efforts over the next 10 years, according to the agency’s 2023 Unified Transportation Program, which directs federal and state funding to projects.
  • These UTP funds are in addition to $32 billion over the life of the program for routine maintenance and project development for more than 7,000 transportation projects, per a governor’s office press release, for a total investment of $117 billion. 
  • Many projects in the UTP plan are road segments that the Texas A&M Transportation Institute identified on its 100 Most Congested Roadways list, as well as other key connectivity corridors, the governor’s office said. While the projects identified in the UTP are not guaranteed to be built, it’s a key long-term planning tool for the state.

Dive Insight: 

The Texas DOT coffers will be flush due to funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the UTP document said, as well as $50 billion from two voter-approved initiatives that distribute money collected from oil, gas and sales taxes to the state highway fund. While most of the money is directed to populated regions, the plan also includes a historic uptick in funding to $14 billion for projects in rural areas, according to the press release.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in the release the UTP will be a “huge boon” to the state’s infrastructure and economy.

“As more people move to Texas and businesses grow across the state, we are working together to make sure Texans’ transportation safety and mobility are secured and businesses can flourish for generations to come,” Abbott said.

Abbott announced adoption of the 2023 UTP on Aug. 30, and now it goes before the Texas Transportation Commission, the governing board for the Texas DOT, for approval. 

The $8.5 billion of average annual investment is expected to yield around $15.5 billion per year in economic benefits as a result of increased labor income and business output, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, as well as 58,500 new direct and indirect jobs.

Key projects identified for funding in the plan include:

  • $4.5 billion for the I-35 Capital Express Central project to expand the highway in Austin.
  • $982 million for I-45 projects in Houston.
  • $940 million for I-35 in the San Antonio area.
  • $807.52 million for US 380 in Collin County.

While the bulk of the funding is directed to roadways, the UTP also identifies public transportation, maritime, aviation and rail projects that are priorities. A full list of UTP projects can be viewed here

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