I had the honor to represent Van Zandt County at the 11th Annual Transportation Forum in Austin. We can be proud of the Texas Department of Transportation . Our TxDot and their contractors have done a fantastic job on tight budgets and horrible weather, tornados, and floods. Next time you slow down or stop because they are fixing Texas Roads, be sure to give a “thumbs up” to the Best of the Best.
Propositions 1 and 7, and House Bill 20 will now put dollars directly into Texas roads. The voters made it clear that Sales Tax and Gasoline tax is to stay in road work and not a political grab bag. The federal government got the same message loud and clear. Both parties in Congress quickly passed the bill and the President signed it. $105 Billion Dollars is to come to the states for fixing up the Interstate roads, but they do not get the money unless the project is “SHOVEL READY”.
The Councils of Government,Metropolitan Planning Organizations,Regional Mobility Authorities , Economic Development Officials, Construction Contractors, Rail Experts, and Engineering Firms have been burning the midnight oil to be ready for 2016.
Here are just a few projects ready to roll. Interstate 69 is starting construction from Houston to the North East Corner of Texas. This will give a boost to chemical and other Gulf Coast industries, relieve congestion and increase growth and job opportunities in East Texas
A 400 foot plus high bridge over the Port of Corpus Christi is a go. This will allow for the BIG BOATS when the Panama Canal gets dredged deeper. The big boats will a give tremendous boost to the economy. We have 11 deep water ports in Texas. A ocean going tanker came out of Aransas Pass this month with Texas oil heading overseas. Congress cleared the way this year for the US to export oil for the first time since the 1970s.
Texas Department of Transportation is studied by Other States and Nations. They were there taking notes. TxDot allocates the dollars smartly. They plan what goes where and when. TxDot has three bosses, the customer (that’s us), the tax payer, and the legislators. They serve us all well.
We have the best and brightest mind planning ahead. Rail will double by 2040. We have 195,000 miles of state maintained road. That amounts to over two trillion dollars of assets. There are 53,000 bridges, 10,000 miles of rail, and the largest air transportation system in the US with DFW and Bush as the anchors.
If Texas were a country, it would be the 14th largest economy in the world,
The next five years are a game changer. Cars will be safer. There will be driverless cars on the road this year. We will drive less and rideshare more, work remotely more. The Millennials will outnumber all people over thirty-five. There will be more walking and riding bicycles to work in the large cities. Oh yes. We will figure out how to fix our county roads.
It is a great time to live in North East Texas in Van Zandt County.