TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT: Texas putting $1.3 billion into reducing congestion

Jan. 28, 2016

The plan, announced earlier this week, aims the mass influx of dollars at 14 projects within the state's five major cities

The Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) unveiled a $1.3 billion plan this week targeted at reducing traffic congestion on some of the most clogged corridors in the state.

The plan calls for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to direct funds for 14 roadway projects specifically designed to relieve gridlock around the state's five largest cities: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth.

“On average, Texas drivers are losing about 52 hours and over $1,200 annually,” said TTC member J. Bruce Bugg Jr. “In order to tackle this, what we decided to do is focus on the five major metropolitan areas.”

The announcement of this plan is a direct result of a request made this past September by Gov. Greg Abbott to the commission, in which the governor requested the agency develop a plan to deal with traffic congestion, citing the potential for “business growth and job creation” if roadways were less crowded. 

The largest amount of state funding—$262 million—is going toward relieving congestion on parts of I-35 and U.S. 67 in Dallas. Another $210 million also is going toward I-10 in Houston. $148.6 million is headed toward three different projects on I-35 in Austin, a segment of which is considered by TxDOT to be the most congested corridor in the state.

Bugg said the TTC’s proposal is only phase one of a larger effort by TxDOT to clear Texas roads; he further suggested that more funding would be called for down the line.

“Our goal and objective of this initial phase of funding is to get projects working as soon as possible so that Texas taxpayers that get behind the wheel of their car everyday will understand that we’re serious about showing Texas taxpayers congestion relief as soon as possible,” he said.

Texas’ rural roads were the focus of the first installment of Roads & Bridges’ “DOT in Crisis” series, which looked selectively at state DOT struggles and their plans for the future.