By Alvin New
The Texas Department of Transportation is making an historic investment in the future of our rapidly growing state.
During our August Texas Transportation Commission meeting, we approved TxDOT’s 10-year transportation program that includes more than $85 billion dedicated to improving safety, addressing congestion and connectivity, and preserving roadways for Texas drivers.
Our state covers more than 266,000 square miles and 1,000 new people are added to the population in Texas every single day. According to recent Census estimates, Texas grew by more than 310,000 from July 2020 to July 2021, and we’re fast approaching a population of 30 million.
TxDOT has planned, and will continue to plan, for this growth and play a critical role in providing the needed infrastructure to help move people and products. That’s where our Unified Transportation Program, or UTP, comes in.
Since our mission at TxDOT is “Connecting You With Texas,” we’re working hard to make sure every region of the state stays connected. That’s why we’re dedicating more than $12.2 billion to statewide connectivity projects to upgrade interstates and other major rural highways over the next 10 years via the 2023 UTP.
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 an historic level of approximately $14 billion in our rural areas over the next 10 years through our 2023 UTP. This represents a 600% increase in planned rural funding compared to planned funding from just seven years ago. 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 $2.5 billion 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.
Alvin New is a commissioner on the Texas Transportation Commission.