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TRIP Reports on Texas’ Most Critical Highway Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life

TRIPTRIP’s New Report Identifies Top 100 Highway Improvements Needed To Support Economic Growth And Quality Of Life In Texas, Including Projects To Address Deteriorated And Congested Roadways, Deficient Bridges, And Needed Safety Improvements

Transportation improvements are needed to address deficient, crowded or congested roads, highways and bridges in Texas that threaten to stifle the state’s economic growth and development. This is according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

The report, Texas’ Most Critical Highway Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life,” identifies the 100 highway improvements most needed to support economic growth and quality of life in Texas, ranked in order as determined by TRIP. These improvements include projects to build, expand or modernize highways or bridges throughout the state in order to accommodate projected job growth and population increases. Making these needed transportation improvements would enhance Texas’ economic development, support a high quality of life, and accommodate projected future growth in population and economic activity. Texas led the nation in job creation in each of the last five years, and the state is expected to add 3.5 million residents in the next 20 years. Completion of these projects would increase mobility and freight movement, ease congestion, improve safety, and ensure Texas remains an attractive place to live, visit and do business. A lack of adequate transportation funding is the constraining factor in developing and delivering these needed improvements.

The TRIP report identifies the most needed improvements in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Houston, San Antonio and other locations in Texas. The 10 most needed transportation improvements to support economic growth in areas outside the state’s four largest urban areas are detailed below. Additional information about each project can be found in the report.

TRIP TX 1TRIP identified and evaluated each project based on the following criteria: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and, the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.

“Proposition 1 was a clear message from Texas voters that they believe funding our highways is a very high priority,” said Brandon Janes, Chairman of Transportation Advocates of Texas. “We are seeing community leaders across the state urging members of the Legislature to take the next step in addressing the state’s highway funding shortfall.  Our member organizations believe a significant part of the solution will be for lawmakers to approval a reliable, constitutionally dedicated funding mechanism like SJR 5 or HJR 13.  Either approach will provide more than $2.5 billion a year in sustained funding and will keep our state from falling further behind on congestion, connectivity, safety and deteriorating roadways.”

According to the TRIP report, 15 percent of Texas’ major roads are in poor condition, while 41 percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 44 percent are in good condition.

Texas’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.38 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is significantly higher than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.09. The fatality rate on Texas’ rural non-Interstate roads was 2.48 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013, nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the 1.04 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

Enhancing critical segments of Texas’ transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long-term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness and improve quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth. Sustaining Texas’ long-term economic growth and maintaining the state’s quality of life will require increased investment in expanding the capacity of the state’s transportation system, which will enhance business productivity and support short- and long-term job creation in the state.

“Investing in Texas’ transportation system and addressing these challenges by improving the condition and efficiency of the state’s roads, highways and bridges will be an effective step in boosting the state’s economy, enhancing quality of life and accommodating future growth,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.

Texas’ Most Critical Highway

Projects to Support Economic Growth and

Quality of Life

 Executive Summary

         Texas’ transportation system has played a significant role in the state’s development, providing mobility and access for residents, visitors, businesses and industry. The state’s roads, highways and bridges remain the backbone of the Lone Star State’s economy. Texas’ transportation system also provides for a high quality of life and makes the state a desirable place to live, work and visit. The condition and quality of its transportation system will play a critical role in Texas’ ability to continue to recover from the recession, capitalize on its economic advantages and meet the mobility demands of the 21st Century.

To foster and sustain the state’s economic growth and accommodate future increases in population and economic expansion, Texas must proceed with numerous projects to improve key roads, bridges and public transit systems. Enhancing critical segments of Texas’ transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long-term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness and improve the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth.

In this report, TRIP examines recent transportation and economic trends in Texas and provides information on the transportation projects in the state that are most needed to support economic growth. Sources of data include the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the U.S. Census Bureau. All data used in the report is the latest available 

TRIP has identified the highway projects that are most needed to support Texas’ economic growth. These projects are located throughout the state and include projects to build, modernize and expand highways or bridges, as well as improvements and capacity expansion to the state’s rail and public transit systems.

  • The most needed Texas transportation improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making Texas an attractive place to live, visit and do business.
  • TRIP identified and evaluated each project based on the following criteria: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and, the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.
  • The most needed highway projects to support economic development, ranked in order as determined by TRIP, have been broken down geographically and are listed below. Information on the following projects may change as they are subject to revisions as part of an ongoing review process.

AUSTIN

  1. Reconstruct and expand a portion of I-35 in Travis County. This $1.9 billion project would reconstruct and expand approximately 27 miles of I-35 in Travis County, from SH 45N to SH 45SE. Expanding this critical portion of the region’s transportation system, which currently has six lanes, would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and would have a high impact on supporting economic development in the region.
  1. Reconstruct and expand a portion of I-35 in Hays County. This $1.5 billion project would reconstruct and expand approximately 24 miles of I-35 in Hays County, from SH 45S to Posey Rd. Expanding this critical portion of the region’s transportation system, which currently has six lanes, would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and would have a high impact on supporting economic development in the region.
  1. Reconstruct and expand a portion of I-35 in Williamson County. This $815 million project would reconstruct and expand approximately 17 miles of I-35 in Williamson County, from SH 130 to SH 45N. Expanding this critical portion of the region’s transportation system, which currently has six lanes, would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and would have a high impact on supporting economic development in the region.
  1. Build overpasses on a portion of SH 71 in Bastrop and Travis Counties. This $102 million project would build overpasses to eliminate all signalized intersections along a 15-mile portion of SH 71 in Bastrop and Travis Counties. This improvement would improve safety and mobility on this corridor and enhance regional economic development.
  1. Extend the US 290 Manor Expressway in Elgin and Austin Counties from Manor to Elgin.   This $540 million project would extend the US 290 Manor Expressway from Manor to Elgin, which would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and enhance regional economic development.
  1. Reconstruct and expand a portion of Loop 1 South in Austin. This $290 million project would reconstruct and expand approximately eight miles of Loop 1 South in Austin from south of Cesar Chavez Street to Slaughter Lane. This project would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and enhance regional economic development.
  1. Reconstruct and expand a portion of the US 183 South Bergstrom Expressway in Austin. This $680 million project would reconstruct and expand approximately eight miles of the US 183 South Bergstrom Expressway in Austin from south US 290 East to SH 71, which would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and enhance regional economic development.
  1. Reconstruct and expand the Oakhill “Y”/US 290/SH 71 in Austin. This $648 million project would reconstruct and expand approximately four miles of the Oakhill “Y”/US 290/SH 71 in Austin from Loop 1 to FM 1826, which would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and enhance regional economic development.
  1. Construct a new highway along the SH 45 SW corridor in Austin. This $100 million project would construct 3.6 miles of highway along the SH 45 SW corridor in Austin from Loop 1 to FM 1626, which would improve connectivity to the region’s highway system and improve regional mobility and safety.
  1. Make operational improvements to a portion of Loop 360 in Austin. This $500 million project would make various operational improvements to a 14-mile portion of Loop 360 in Austin from US 183 to Ben White Boulevard, which would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and enhance regional economic development.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

  1. Rebuild and widen the I-30/US 80 East Corridor. This $2 billion project would rebuild and widen a 29 mile portion of I-30/US 80 East from I-30 (downtown) and US 80, to Bass Pro Drive. This improvement would revitalize downtown Fair Park and improve mobility for the East Corridor while supporting the economic vitality of East Dallas.
  1. Rebuild and widen US 75 from I-635 to SH 121 (Sam Rayburn Tollway). This $2.5 billion project would rebuild and widen 18 miles of US 75 from I-635 to SH 121 (Sam Rayburn Tollway). This major corridor serves Dallas, Richardson, Plano, Allen and McKinley while connecting with several other major corridors and serving major employment centers in Richardson’s information corridor.
  1. Reconstruct and widen I-35E from north of I-635 to US 380. This $3.4 billion project would widen 29 miles of I-35E from north of I-635 to US. Completion of this project would provide congestion relief and safety improvements while enhancing mobility and spurring economic development.
  1. Rebuild and widen I-635 LBJ Freeway East from I-30 to east of US 75. This $1.3 billion project would rebuild and widen I-635 LBJ Freeway East from I-30 to east of US 75 in order to accommodate anticipated regional growth along the LBJ corridor. This project would provide for improved connections for the cities of Dallas, Mesquite and Garland, in addition to other communities that access LBJ via other routes.
  1. Reconstruct and expand I-35E Pegasus from north of Oak Lawn Avenue to the I-35E/SH 183 split. This $755 million project would reconstruct and widen three miles of I-35E from north of Oak Lawn Avenue to the I-35E/SH 183 split. This project would relieve congestion north of downtown Dallas while enhancing mobility and economic development opportunities. 
  1. Widen the I-35E/US 67 Southern Gateway. This $2 billion project would widen 18 miles of I-35E/US 67 from 8th Street/I-35E to I-20/FM 1382. The Southern Gateway project provides improved access in southwestern Dallas County while adding capacity to the roadway system, improving safety, and enhancing reliability for residents traveling in this corridor.
  1. Rebuild and widen Loop 12/I-35E from SP 408 to I-635. This $1.2 billion project would rebuild and widen 13 miles of Loop 12/I-35E from SP 408 to I-635. This project would provide congestion relief and safety improvements while enhancing economic development.
  1. Construction of the Trinity Parkway from I-35E to I-45/US 175. This $1.8 billion project would construct the eight-mile Trinity Parkway from I-35E to I-45/US 175. This project would provide a much-needed bypass around downtown Dallas while relieving traffic on I-35E and providing access to the Trinity River and additional activities planned for the area.
  1. Expand SH 183/SH 114. This $3.3 billion project would expand 20 miles of SH 183 in Dallas and Tarrant Counties to include eight general purpose lanes. Currently, this corridor has limited capacity and an outdated design. This project would enhance mobility and promote economic development in the DFW Airport area, as well as in the cities of Irving and Dallas.
  1. Widen a portion of the North Tarrant Express. This $800 million project would widen 1.2 miles of the North Tarrant Express from I-30 to Northside Drive, while adding connections to downtown. This interchange has an outdated design and is heavily congested. This project would improve safety and reliability while relieving congestion and improving access into downtown.
  1. Rebuild and widen the I-20/I-820/US 287 Interchange. This $1.1 billion project would rebuild and widen the I-20/I-820/US 287 Interchange. The current interchange, which serves several major corridors, has an outdated design and limited capacity. This project would improve safety, reliability and travel times for residents traveling in this corridor.
  1. Construct a highway on Loop 9 from I-20 to US 67. This $2.2 billion project would build a new highway on Loop 9 from I-20 to US 67. This corridor comprises one of the segments of the proposed DFW Regional Outer Loop System. This project is needed to address population growth, transportation demand, system linkages and connectivity among existing roadways. It will improve mobility in the area and promote economic vitality in the region.
  1. Reconstruct portions of I-30 Pegasus/Canyon. This $600 million project would reconstruct I-30 Pegasus/Canyon from I-35E to I-45. Completion of this project would relieve congestion south of downtown Dallas while improving mobility and enhancing economic development.
  1. Construct five collector-distributor roads and reconstruct frontage roads on I-35E from I-30 to north of Oak Lawn Avenue. This $650 million project would construct five collector-distributor roads and reconstruct the frontage roads on I-35E from I-30 to north of Oak Lawn Avenue. This project will reduce vehicle weaving from the freeway to the connector-distributor lanes, while supporting the economic vitality of downtown Dallas.
  1. Rehabilitate an overhead portion of I-345 from I-30 to Woodwall Rodgers Freeway. This $185 million project would rehabilitate an overhead portion of I-345 from I-30 to Woodwall Rodgers Freeway. This project will extend the service life of this facility for many years. The route is a main connector between South Dallas and North Dallas and also provides connection to downtown Dallas.

HOUSTON

  1. Reconstruct and expand I-45 from US 59 to BW 8N. This $6.7 billion project would reconstruct and expand 15 miles of I-45 from US 59 to BW 8N, including US 59 and SH 288 in downtown. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and provide economic vitality for the region.
  1. Reconstruct and widen I-69 SW from I-610 to BW 8. This $1.25 billion project would widen 7.5 miles of I-69 from the Houston Galleria area/Bellaire area at I-610 southwest to BW 8. This project will support air quality improvements and provide congestion relief in the Galleria/Bellaire area, while supporting regional connectivity and stimulating development near the Houston Galleria and the surrounding area.
  1. Construct four express lanes on I-610 from US 59 to I-10W. This $250 million project would construct four express lanes on approximately five miles of I-610 from US 59 to I-10W. This corridor has been identified as one of the most congested in the state. This project will support air quality improvement and provide congestion relief, while stimulating further economic development near the Houston Galleria and the surrounding area.
  1. Reconstruct and widen I-10 East from I-610 to SP 330. This $523 million project would reconstruct and widen more than 26 miles of I-10 East from the northeastern portion of downtown Houston at US 59 to the Beaumont District Line. I-10 is one of the Houston area’s Hurricane Evacuation Routes. This project would stimulate economic growth, support air quality improvements, provide congestion relief in eastern Harris County and enhance regional connectivity by continuing the widening of I-10.
  1. Construct four toll lanes on SH 99 from US 59 N to SH 146. This $1.3 billion project would construct four new toll lanes on SH 99 from US 59 N to SH 146. This project would provide congestion relief, air quality improvements, increased safety and enhanced economic vitality for the region.
  1. Reconstruct and expand SH 288 from US 59 to SH 99. This $1.3 billion project would reconstruct and expand 25 miles of SH 288 from US 59 to SH 99. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and promote economic vitality in the area.
  1. Reconstruct and expand I-45 from NASA 1 to 61st This $1 billion project would reconstruct and expand 25 miles of I-45 from NASA 1 to 61st Street. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and promote economic vitality in the area.
  1. Reconstruct and expand I-10 from SH 6 to FM 359. This $360 million project would reconstruct and expand 13 miles of I-10 from SH 6 to FM 359. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and promote economic vitality in the area.
  1. Reconstruct I-10 to add additional lanes from FM 359 to the Brazos River. This $150 million project would reconstruct I-10 to add one main lane in each direction from FM 359 to the Brazos River. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and promote economic vitality in the area.
  1. Add a dedicated bus lane on I-610 from Post Oak Boulevard to I-10W. This $55 million project would add a dedicated bus lane on I-610 from Post Oak Boulevard to I-10W. This section of I-610, near the Houston Galleria, has been identified as the most congested in the state. This project will support air quality improvement and provide congestion relief and an alternative mode of transportation in the Houston Galleria area.
  1. Reconstruct I-610 connectors and mainline bridge at US 59. This $160 million project would reconstruct the I-610 connectors and the mainline bridge at US 59. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and promote economic vitality in the area.
  1. Construct four toll lanes and frontage roads on SH 99 from SH 288 to I-45S. This $580 million project would construct four toll lanes and frontage roads on SH 99 from SH 288 to I-45S. This project will continue the Grand Parkway loop around the greater Houston area and connect SH 288 in Brazoria County near Iowa Colony to I-45 in Galveston County near Dickinson. This project will stimulate economic development on this southeastern portion of the Grand Parkway loop and support regional connectivity and additional capacity for mobility in Brazoria and Galveston Counties. 
  1. Construct four toll lanes with frontage roads on SH 99 from US 59S to SH 288. This $626 million project would continue the Grand Parkway loop around the greater Houston area and connect SH 288 in Brazoria County near Iowa Colony to US 59 in Fort Bend County. This project will stimulate economic development on this southwestern portion of the Grand Parkway loop.
  1. Construct toll lanes and frontage roads on SH 249 from Brown Road to FM 1774. This $515 million project would add six toll lanes with two three-lane frontage roads in Harris County, and construct four toll lanes in Montgomery and Grimes Counties. This project provides a connection from the Houston area to the Bryan/College Station area and Texas A&M University. It will relieve congestion, support air quality improvement and stimulate additional economic development in the areas between Houston and Bryan/College Station.
  1. Reconstruct and expand US 290 from SH 99 to FM 2920. This $133 million project would reconstruct and expand approximately 10 miles of US 290 from SH 99 to FM 2920. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and promote economic vitality in the area.

SAN ANTONIO

  1. Expand I-35 to add four lanes and interchange improvements at US 90, I-10 and I-37. This $900 million project would expand I-35 from US 90 to I-410 to add four lanes and interchange improvements at US 90, I-10 and I-37. This project would provide congestion relief to this important trade and commuter corridor while improving mobility and trip reliability and supporting economic development.
  1. Expand I-35N to add four lanes and interchange improvements. This $1.6 billion project would expand I-35N from I-410 to New Braunfels, to include adding four lanes and interchange improvements at I-410S, I-410N, Wurzbach Parkway and Loop 1604. This project would provide congestion relief to this important trade and commuter corridor while improving mobility and trip reliability and supporting economic development.
  1. Expand Loop 1604 to add lanes and interchange improvements. This $1.1 billion project would expand 35 miles of Loop 1604 from IS 90 to I-35, to add four lanes and interchange improvements at US 90, SH 151, I-10 and I-35. This project would provide congestion relief, improve mobility and support economic development.
  1. Expand I-10W to add two lanes from BS 87 to FM 3351. This $390 million project would expand nearly 13 miles of I-10W from BS 87 to FM 3351 to provide congestion relief, safety enhancements, mobility and economic development opportunities. The northwest area between San Antonio and Boerne/Kendall County is experiencing fast-paced growth causing peak-hour traffic congestion. Many of the current segments of frontage roads are two-way operation, creating safety concerns with increased traffic.
  1. Expand Bandera Road to four lanes from I-410 to Loop 1604. This $330 million project would expand six miles of Bandera Road to four lanes from I-410 to Loop 1604. This congested corridor serves as an important commuter route between SL 1604 and I-410. This project would improve mobility and trip reliability while supporting economic development.
  1. Expand Loop 337 to four lanes from I-35 N to I-35 South. This $160 million project would expand eight miles of Loop 337 to four lanes from I-35 N to I-35 S. It would support economic development and provide long-term congestion relief for this important connection between SH 46 and I-35, while relieving local congestion in the New Braunfels area.
  1. Expand I-35 South to add two lanes from FM 117 to US 90. This $2.1 billion project would expand 68 miles of I-35 South to add two lanes from the LaSalle/ Frio County line to US 90. This important trade corridor experiences increasing truck traffic and mounting peak hour congestion, and has two-way frontage roads that present safety concerns with additional traffic. This project will provide improved safety, mobility and reliability while enhancing economic development opportunities. 
  1. Expand Loop 1604 East to four lanes and improve interchanges. This $495 million project would expand eight miles of Loop 1604 East from I-35 to I-10 East. It would include a four-lane expressway with frontage roads and interchange improvements at I-10 East. This project would provide congestion relief while improving mobility and supporting economic development.
  1. Expand SH 151 to add two lanes from Loop 1604 to US 90. This $270 million project would expand 11 miles of SH 151 to add two lanes from Loop 1604 to US 90. This corridor is an important commuter route between the residential communities on the far west side of San Antonio to downtown, as well as other employment centers in between. Fast paced growth in the area has created considerable peak hour demand and congestion. This project would improve mobility and support economic development.
  1. Expand US 90 to a six-lane expressway with frontage roads from I-410 to SH 211. This $210 million project would expand seven miles of US 90 to a six-lane expressway with frontage roads between I-410 and SH 211. This corridor serves as an important commuter route for the residential areas on the far west side of San Antonio. Fast paced growth in the area has created a need for improvements on US 90. A portion of the existing frontage roads remain two-way, creating safety concerns that would be addressed by this project. It would improve safety, mobility, reliability and economic development.

OTHER TEXAS REGIONS

  1. Upgrade a portion of SL 20 in Laredo to Interstate standards. This $438 million project would upgrade an approximately nine-mile segment of SL 20 in Laredo to Interstate design standards from I-35 to US 59 Business east of Laredo, including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement, improve safety and improve air quality.
  1. Upgrade a portion of US 59 in Liberty, San Jacinto, Angelina, Nacogdoches and Polk Counties to Interstate standards. This approximately $2 billion project would upgrade a 107-mile portion of US 59 to Interstate design standards from I-69 south of Cleveland to North of Nacogdoches, including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will enhance regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  1. Expand a portion of I-10 from four to six lanes from Vidor to the Louisiana state line. This $410 million project would widen I-10 in Orange County from four to six lanes from Vidor to the Louisiana state line. This project will complete upgrading I-10 from four to six lanes from Beaumont to the Louisiana state line. Improving I-10, the major East-West corridor across the Gulf Coast, will improve goods movement in this corridor and stimulate economic development locally, regionally and throughout the Gulf Coast.
  1. Upgrade a portion of SH 44 to Interstate standards in Nueces and Jim Wells Counties . This approximately $600 million project would upgrade a 29-mile portion of SH 44 to Interstate design standards from US 281 to US 77/I-69E, including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will enhance regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  1. Upgrade a portion of US 59 to Interstate standards in Wharton and Fort Bend Counties. This approximately $475 million project would upgrade a 40-mile portion of US 59 from US 59 Business Route south of El Campo to I-69 west of Rosenberg, to conform to Interstate design standards including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will enhance regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  2. Expand a portion of I-10 from four to six lanes from Winnie to Beaumont. This $290 million project would widen this approximately 20-mile segment of I-10 in Chambers and Jefferson Counties from four to six lanes from FM 1663 in Winnie to CR 131 in Beaumont. Expanding this last four-lane section between Houston and Beaumont to six-lanes would eliminate a bottleneck thus easing congestion and improving mobility on this major East-West corridor in the Gulf Coast.
  1. Expand a portion of I-45 between Dallas and Houston from four to six lanes. This $1.8 billion project would widen from four to six lanes this approximately 112-mile segment of I-45 from the Houston district line to the Dallas district line. Expanding this last critical freight corridor between the state’s two largest urban areas will improve mobility and safety on this corridor and support economic development growth in the region and statewide.
  1. Upgrade a portion of US 77 in Willacy, Kennedy, Nueces and Kleberg Counties to Interstate standards. This approximately $600 million project would upgrade a 92-mile portion of SH 77 from I-69 north of Raymondville to I-69 in Robstown to Interstate design standards including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will enhance regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  1. Upgrade a portion of US 281 to Interstate standards in Hidalgo, Brooks and Jim Wells Counties. This approximately $900 million project would upgrade a 100-mile portion of US 281 to Interstate design standards from I-69 north of Edinburg to US 281 Business route north of Alice, including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will enhance regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  1. Upgrade a portion of US 59 to Interstate standards in Victoria County. This approximately $217 million project would upgrade to Interstate design standards an approximately 12-mile portion of US 59 from US 77 to US 59 Business route north of Victoria, including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will enhance regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  1. Add an additional lane in each direction on a portion of I-10 in El Paso. This $135 million project would widen this approximately 11-mile segment of I-10 from the New Mexico state line to Sunland Park Drive in El Paso. Expanding this last critical corridor will improve mobility and safety on this corridor and support economic development growth in the region and statewide.
  1. Expand a portion of I-35 in Hill County from four to six lanes. This $100 million project would widen this approximately eight-mile segment of I-35 from I-35 north of Hillsboro to the Dallas District Line. Expanding this last critical corridor will improve mobility and safety on this corridor and support economic development growth in the region and statewide.
  1. Expand a portion of I-35 from four to six lanes in Hill and Johnson Counties. This $220 million project would widen this approximately a 14-mile segment of I-35 from I-35 north of Hillsboro to the Fort Worth District Line. Expanding this last critical corridor will improve mobility and safety on this corridor and support economic development growth in the region and statewide.
  1. Expand a portion of I-10 from four to six lanes in Gonzales, Colorado, Caldwell, Austin, Fayette and Waller Counties. This $1.4 billion project would widen this approximately 103-mile segment of I-10 from the Guadalupe/Caldwell County Line to FM 359 in Brookshire. Expanding this corridor will improve mobility and safety thus supporting economic development both locally and regionally.
  1. Expand a portion of I-20 from four to six lanes in Gregg, Smith, Harrison and Van Zandt Counties. This $727 million project would widen this approximately 90-mile segment of I-20 from the Kaufman County line to the Texas/Louisiana State line. This section of I-20 is the primary route connecting the Dallas/Fort Worth area to Shreveport, Louisiana. Widening this portion of I-20 will reduce congestion, improve safety, improve air quality and support economic development both locally and regionally.
  1. Upgrade a portion of US 77 in San Patricio County to Interstate standards. This approximately $350 million project would upgrade an approximately 15-mile portion of US 77 to Interstate design standards from I-37 to US 77 Business route north of Sinton, including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will improve regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  1. Widen a portion of I-35 in Waco from six to eight lanes. This $393 million project would widen eight-miles of I-35 in Waco from South Loop 340 to North Loop 340 from six to eight lanes. Expanding this corridor will reduce congestion, improve safety and increase freight movement capacity, thus supporting economic development locally, regionally and statewide.
  1. Build a relief highway route for a portion of US 59 in Harrison County. This $328 million project would build a 20-mile, Interstate standard highway from north of Marshall to South of Marshall, which may be designated as a part of I-69. Expanding access in this corridor will improve safety, air quality and mobility, thus supporting economic development locally, regionally and statewide.
  1. Build a Midland relief highway route in Midland County. This $350 million project would build a 21-mile highway relief route from I-20 west of the Midland, re-connecting with I-20 east of Midland. The additional capacity would relieve crowded and unsafe local road conditions and enhance economic development opportunities in the region.
  1. Expanding a portion of I-20 from four to six lanes in Midland and Ector Counties. This $700 million project would widen this approximately 46-mile segment of I-20 from west of FM 866 near Odessa to the east of FM 1208 near Midland. Expanding this corridor will help relieve growing traffic congestion, partly due to increased gas production in the region, and also improve safety on this corridor, thus supporting economic development growth in the region.

Transportation projects that improve the efficiency, condition or safety of a highway or transit route provide significant economic benefits by reducing transportation delays and costs associated with a deficient transportation system. Some benefits of transportation improvements include the following.

  • Improved business competitiveness due to reduced production and distribution costs as a result of increased travel speeds and fewer mobility barriers.
  • Improvements in household welfare resulting from better access to higher-paying jobs, a wider selection of competitively priced consumer goods, additional housing and healthcare options, and improved mobility for residents without access to private vehicles.
  • Gains in local, regional and state economies due to improved regional economic competitiveness, which stimulates population and job growth.
  • Increased leisure/tourism and business travel resulting from the enhanced condition and reliability of a region’s transportation system.
  • A reduction in economic losses from vehicle crashes, traffic congestion and vehicle maintenance costs associated with driving on deficient roads.
  • The creation of both short-term and long-term jobs.
  • Transportation projects that expand roadway or transit capacity produce significant economic benefits by reducing congestion and improving access, thus speeding the flow of people and goods while reducing fuel consumption.
  • Transportation projects that maintain and preserve existing transportation infrastructure provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity, load-carry abilities and safety, and reducing operating costs for people and businesses. Such projects also extend the service life of a road, bridge or transit vehicle or facility, which saves money by either postponing or eliminating the need for more expensive future repairs.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2013 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs, and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

According to a recent national report, improved access as a result of capacity expansions provides numerous regional economic benefits. Those benefits include higher employment rates, higher land value, additional tax revenue, increased intensity of economic activity, increased land prices and additional construction as a result of the intensified use.

  • The projects analyzed in the report were completed no later than 2005 and included a wide variety of urban and rural projects, including the expansion or addition of major highways, beltways, connectors, bypasses, bridges, interchanges, industrial access roads, intermodal freight terminals and intermodal passenger terminals.
  • The expanded capacity provided by the projects resulted in improved access, which resulted in reduced travel-related costs, faster and more reliable travel, greater travel speeds, improved reliability and increased travel volume.
  • The report found that improved transportation access benefits a region by: enhancing the desirability of an area for living, working or recreating, thus increasing its land value; increasing building construction in a region due to increased desirability for homes and businesses; increasing employment as a result of increased private and commercial land use; and increasing tax revenue as a result of increased property taxes, increased employment and increased consumption, which increases sales tax collection.
  • The report found that benefits of a transportation capacity expansion unfolded over several years and that the extent of the benefits were impacted by other factors including: the presence of complimentary infrastructure such as water, sewer and telecommunications; local land use policy; the local economic and business climate; and whether the expanded capacity was integrated with other public investment and development efforts.
  • For every $1 million spent on urban highway or intermodal expansion, the report estimated that an average of 7.2 local, long-term jobs were created at nearby locations as a result of improved access. An additional 4.4 jobs were created outside the local area, including businesses that supplied local businesses or otherwise benefited from the increased regional economic activity.
  • For every $1 million spent on rural highway or intermodal expansion, the report estimated that an average of 2.9 local, long-term jobs were created at nearby locations as a result of improved access. An additional 1.6 jobs were created outside the local area, including businesses that supplied local businesses or otherwise benefited from the increased regional economic activity.
  • The report found that highway and intermodal capacity projects in urban areas created a greater number of long-term jobs than in rural areas, largely due to the more robust economic environment and greater density in urban communities.

Texas’ transportation system must be modernized and expanded in order to accommodate anticipated population growth and the continued expansion of the state’s economy.

  • From 1990, Texas’ population increased by 53 percent, from approximately 17 million to 26.2 million.
  • Texas’ population is projected to grow by another 3.5 million people to 29.7 million residents by 2035, an increase of 14 percent over the current population.
  • From 1990 to 2013, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 51 percent, from approximately 162 billion VMT to 245 billion VMT. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in Texas will increase another 25 percent by 2030.
  • Job creation in the state has remained strong in recent years. Texas has experienced sustained job growth, adding more jobs than any other state in 2014. Texas led the nation in job growth in each of the last five years.
  • Texas has benefited from a diverse economy, which includes significant employment in the following sectors: mining, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, information technology, finance and petroleum production.
  • Every year, approximately $1.2 trillion in goods are shipped annually from sites in Texas and another $1.2 trillion in goods are shipped annually to sites in Texas, mostly by truck.
  • Sixty percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Texas are carried by trucks and another 11 percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of the deliveries.

Texas’ economy is served by an extensive state and locally-maintained system of roads, highways and bridges that have some deficiencies, lack of adequate capacity to support economic development opportunities and lack some desirable safety features.

  • Texas’ system of 313,228 miles of roads and 52,937 bridges, maintained by local, state and federal governments, carries 245 billion vehicle miles of travel annually.
  • Fifteen percent of Texas’ major state and locally maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition. Forty-one percent of the state’s major roads are rated as either mediocre or fair and the remaining 44 percent are rated in good condition.
  • As Texas’ roads and highways continue to age, they will reach a point where routine paving and maintenance will not be adequate to keep pavement surfaces in good condition and costly reconstruction of the roadway and its underlying surfaces will become necessary.
  • Investing in lower-cost, routine roadway repairs and preservation can extend the life of Texas’ roadways and prevent or postpone more costly repairs and reconstruction. It is critical that roads are fixed before they require major repairs because reconstructing roads costs approximately four times more than resurfacing them.
  • In 2014, 19 percent of Texas’ bridges were rated either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • Between 2009 and 2013 a total of 15,865 people were killed in traffic crashes in Texas, an average of 3,173 fatalities per year.
  • Texas’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.38 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is significantly higher than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.09.
  • The fatality rate on Texas’ rural non-Interstate roads was 2.48 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013, nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the 1.04 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.

The federal surface transportation program, which is an important source of funding for Texas’ roads, highways and bridges, expires on May 31, 2015.

  • A significant boost in investment on the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs, concluded a new report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

 

Sources of data include the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the U.S. Census Bureau. All data used in the report is the latest available.

 

 

ASCE Reports On:  Taking a Stand for Transportation

{08d819bc-1d22-4dd2-80f4-4bea43d54eb4}_ASCE_GovernmentRelations_WashingtonOn April 9, 2015, 300 organizations, along with local, state and federal elected officials, business and transportation leaders, public transit advocates, and transit riders joined in events for “Stand Up for Transportation Day,” calling on Congress to find a fix for the Highway Trust Fund before the federal transportation program expires on May 31.

As part of the day, ASCE co-hosted a forum in Greenville, South Carolina with Ten at the Top and Building America’s Future. The event attracted over 150 attendees on a sunny afternoon and featured ASCE 2013 President Greg DiLoreto as well as Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. Both discussed the urgent need to preserve federal funding for transportation, and the benefits of expanding transit service in growing areas such as Greenville.

In addition, new analysis from the American Public Transportation Association shows the real impacts that the lack of a federal transportation program would have on public transportation systems and on the communities they serve. The report estimates the loss of the federal transit program could mean a $13 billion hit to rural economies over the next six years. The report also looked at regional impacts – the South would lose nearly $37 billion to its economy, and more than 6,500 buses would not be replaced; the Midwest $31.2 billion and 6,100 buses; the Far West $22.9 billion and 5,000 buses; and the West Coast $63.9 billion, and 10,000 buses would not be replaced. Join this effort and urge your member of Congress to stand up on this issue.

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Effects of Falling Oil Prices Ripple Across States and Industries

Effects of Falling  Oil Prices
Effects of Falling  Oil Prices2

Effects of Falling  Oil Prices3

Greg Price, Partner-in-Charge, Energy & Oilfield Services, Sikich LLP

Joe Kulek, Partner-in-Charge, Construction & Real Estate Services, Sikich LLP

It’s Time To FixTheTrustFund NOW

The Following was recently received from Dennis Slater, President at Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), regarding the highway trust fund. The included links are active; I encourage you to use them. It is time to fix the Trust Fund.

headerDear Greg,

The clock is ticking, and we need your help. In less than 100 days the highway trust fund runs out of money, and unless Congress acts, construction and manufacturing jobs would be put at risk due to another artificial crisis in Washington.

Take action now and tell Congress that it’s time to act.

America’s roads and bridges are crumbling and badly in need of repair. Unfortunately, the Highway Trust Fund, the only federal program that supports these investments, is running out of money. Instead of borrowing money from China to build roads right here in the United States, it’s time for Congress to give Americans the long-term solution we need.

We need your help. Click here to tell your member of Congress that there isn’t any time left to waste – it’s time to #FixTheTrustFund NOW…

Sincerely,

Dennis Slater

 

ARTBA Reports: Iowa State Gas Increase Signed into Law This Week; 12 States Considering Similar Plans, According to a New Report from the Transportation Investment Advocacy Center

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55A 10 cents-per-gallon state gas tax increase signed into law Feb. 25 by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) is the latest in a series of initiatives recently put forward by state governments to boost infrastructure funding, according to a new report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center© (TIAC) found there are currently 90 measures related to transportation funding awaiting action in 26 state legislatures. Among the findings:

  • Twelve states: Ga., Mich., Minn., Mo., Mont., Neb., N.J., S.C., S.D., Texas, Utah, and Wash.—are considering legislation to increase their gas tax or sales tax on gasoline.
  • Four states: Conn., N.H., N.M., and Texas—are considering legislation to protect their transportation funds from diversions.
  • Four states: Ark., Iowa, Mo., and Utah—have proposed legislation to convert their flat-rate excise tax on gasoline to a variable-rate tax.
  • Seven states: Conn., Ga., Minn., N.M., N.Y., Wash., and Wis.—have proposed bonds to pay for transportation projects.
  • Two states with variable-rate gas taxes—Ky. and N.C.—are considering legislation to instate or raise a “floor” on the tax in order to prevent it from collecting below a minimum amount.

State and local spending accounts for just under half of all highway and bridge capital outlays, according to an analysis from ARTBA’s Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black. The federal government is the source, on average, of nearly 52 percent of annual highway and bridge capital improvements made by the states.

“Governors and state legislators recognize the negative impacts of deteriorating road and bridge conditions on the local economy, safety and mobility, and are taking action to fix the problem.” Black said.  “At the federal level, Congress should be taking a similar approach to finding a permanent solution for the Highway Trust Fund before highway and transit program funding expires at the end of May.”

The full “State Transportation Funding Initiatives Report” can be found on the TIAC website: www.transportationinvestment.org