ROADS/BRIDGES: Texas governor directs transportation commission to focus on state’s worst choke points

Decision comes as both political measure and shoring up of fiscal priorities 

September 24, 2015

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has directed the Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) to identify and rectify the worst road choke points in the state.

In a speech made at the Brazoria County Transportation & Infrastructure Summit, Abbott said, “Texans’ quality of life and our state economy are counting on swift success.”

Despite nationwide concern over a sustainable transportation funding plan at the federal level, Abbott stared that he believes a “loud and clear message” was sent to the state legislature—and to his office, as well—with the overwhelming passage in 2014 of a state constitutional amendment to steer billions in additional revenues to the transportation department.

“This funding ensures the Texas Department of Transportation has the sustainable, recurring and predictable revenue needed to plan large-scale, multi-year construction projects,” he said.

Dissent in government with regard to the governor’s call was expected and arrived in the guise of Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston, whose concerns are that a coming vote to bring more dollars into highway funding restrict those dollars expressly to roads and bridges. Kingston has stated that on-street biking and pedestrian-friendly areas are worthwhile alternatives to highway investment and that funds, under this plan, would not be able to go there.

Texas’ roads are among the worst in the U.S., as reported earlier this year by Roads & Bridges. The governor’s call to “get these roads built ASAP” has, to all outward appearances, momentum, and chatter among state transportation officials and other members of legislature alike suggest November’s vote will only bolster this resolve.