June 28, 2012
AUSTIN - State officials today gave final approval to approximately $1.9 billion in additional transportation funds to communities across the state.
The Texas Transportation Commission, in its revision of the 2012 Unified Transportation Program (UTP) gave approval for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to move forward with additional funding identified earlier this year.
TxDOT partnered with Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), regional transportation organizations, and districts to identify projects that focus on safety, congestion, maintenance, and statewide connectivity in the coming months.
Communities selected projects that meet important local needs, while leveraging the state's limited resources with other available funds or opportunities to achieve the greatest benefit possible for each community.
"This is a unique position for the state to be in with these funds becoming available," said Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ted Houghton. "We want to make the best use of them by partnering with local communities to insure this funding is applied where they feel it is most needed."
Projects like the Interstate 35 expansion through Central Texas will benefit with a $9 million award to fund new construction and design of Loop 574, a connector to I-35 in Waco.
The additional funding sources originate from Texas Mobility Fund bond proceeds, anticipated federal funding and savings on construction projects currently under way make up the $1.9 billion in allocations.
"The state will be greatly impacted by the work added because of this funding," added Bill Meadows, a Texas Transportation Commission member from Fort Worth. "Continual work with our partners around the state brings solutions like this that provide needed improvements to the transportation infrastructure."
"The state's transportation challenges remain great" said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. "But statewide efforts like this help us address them every time we make forward progress such as this."
East Texas will see planning begin for the construction of portions of Interstate 69 in the Lufkin and Nacogdoches areas with $12 million dedicated to conducting the necessary environmental review and right of way identification for developing portions of I-69 in that area.
Initially, $2 billion was identified in additional funding. The remaining $100 million is still unallocated pending continued work by the department, MPOs and local stakeholders to finalize recommendations on the remaining funding needs.