Alvin New, Commissioner, Texas Transportation Commission
Texas has a lot to offer which includes over 80,000 highway lane miles. We also have worldclass rail and air facilities for freight and passengers. Nearly 2,000 people move here every day, steadily increasing the pressure on our infrastructure. That’s one of the reasons why my Texas Transportation Commission colleagues and I made history this month with the approval of a record $142 billion total investment for Texas’ transportation infrastructure, including the $100 billion 10-year Unified Transportation Program (UTP). This funding will help ensure vital transportation projects will improve safety, congestion, preservation, and connectivity for Texas drivers.
Our state is growing by leaps and bounds in our metropolitan, urban, and rural communities. The growth places stress on our transportation system. Rural Texas cities like my hometown of San Angelo and others are feeling the effects of more traffic on our highways. For instance, many of our rural roadways, especially in the Permian Basin, have experienced dramatic increases in truck traffic, driven by the oilfield economy in the largest source of oil and gas production in the country. This record level of transportation funding will continue to reduce crash rates and improve pavements. In turn, life will be better for us personally, easier on our vehicles, and better for rural industries such as energy, agriculture, timber, and others.
TxDOT has planned, and will continue to plan, for this growth as the agency works to provide the needed infrastructure to help move people and products across the state. To help address this effect on our system, this historic 2024 UTP reflects an unprecedented level of projected funding and estimates $34.2 billion in development costs and $7.5 billion in routine maintenance contracts for a total investment of $142 billion. The UTP also includes funding for five highway corridors (US 87/US 83, US 69/ US 175, US 281, US 59, and US 277/US 83) to improve mobility, provide alternatives to Interstate Highways, or beginning phases of building Interstate Highways that pass through urbanized areas.
This 10-year plan provides for the development of a network of rural highways to improve mobility, connect major activity centers, provide access to ports of entry into Texas, and address safety by building four-lane divided roads. In addition, the 2024 UTP includes the development of major statewide corridors to achieve Interstate Highway classification. Future Interstate Highways in Texas include Interstate Highway 14, Interstate Highway 27/Ports-to-Plains, and Interstate Highway 69.
Since our mission at TxDOT is “Connecting You With Texas,” we’re working hard to make sure every region of the state stays connected. Since fiscal year 2015, we’ve completed more than 258 rural connectivity projects — an investment of $7.7 billion. And we have another 120 projects — $7 billion worth — currently under construction.
In fact, we’re planning to invest a historic level of $19.2 billion in our rural areas over the next 10 years through our 2024 UTP. That’s a major increase over the past few years compared to $2.2 billion in the 2016 UTP. It demonstrates TxDOT’s commitment to building and maintaining a safe and efficient transportation system, not only in our most populous areas, but also in those rural areas that are so vital to our state’s economic success.
This UTP also puts us to work in the energy producing areas of the state. Roads in our energy sector are bearing the brunt of that industry’s economic boost to the state in wear and tear. That’s why we’re dedicating billions of dollars to address specific roadways impacted by traffic in five energy producing regions.
With this historic investment, we’re showing our commitment to connecting every region and every Texan to the people and places that matter most. It is my privilege to serve you as a Texas Transportation Commissioner and to continue to “Connect You with Texas” safely and in a way that keeps pace with the vigorous economic climate we enjoy.