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Posts Tagged ‘TxDOT’

Metro reports an increase in boardings with bikes

From the inbox: The number of people using bikes to extend their bus trips (or vice versa) increased more than 47 percent jumping from 12,111 bike bus boardings in January 2013 to 17,859 in January this year, That’s according to METRO figures which do not account for bikes taken onto light-rail trains. At the METRO […]

More on TxDOT and high speed rail

First come the studies and the public hearings. Then we wait and see what happens. The Texas Transportation Commission is expected to vote Thursday at its monthly meeting on the creation of a high-speed rail commission focused on the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Separately, TxDOT is holding a series of public meetings around Texas and Oklahoma, […]

US-Mexico high speed rail?

What goes north can also go south. A high-speed rail line connecting San Antonio and Monterrey, Mexico, could be less than a decade away from welcoming its first passengers, according to federal and Texas officials who met with Mexican officials in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to discuss the project. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-San Antonio, […]

Federal studies for the Houston-Dallas high speed rail line

It’s a step forward. The federal government, Texas and a private company are collectively working on two studies to assess the impact of a high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx confirmed Tuesday. Foxx, speaking at the Texas Transportation Forum, an annual conference put on by the Texas […]

Reminder: I-45 public meeting tonight

From The Highwayman: As officials take another step in the process of widening Interstate 45 from downtown north to the Sam Houston Tollway, one option to essentially make the teardrop-shaped inner loop created by I-45 and U.S. 59 an odd confluence of I-45 running along both sides of the business district remains a possibility, according […]

Maybe there’s a problem with building roads where there are no drivers

The high speed toll road keeps having problems relating to not having enough paying customers. SH 130 has not been the immediate success story its backers had hoped. Last week, lower-than-expected traffic revenue prompted credit ratings firm Moody’s Investors Service to severely downgrade the SH 130 Concession Company’s debt and warned that a default may […]

There are no new ideas, but there are plenty of bad ideas

There’s so much wrong with what Greg Abbott wants for Texas that it’s hard to know where to begin. In his first major policy address as a gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Greg Abbott proposed tighter constitutional limits on state spending and increased constraints on the multibillion-dollar Rainy Day Fund. Abbott laid out his “Working Texans” […]

Third public meeting for I-45 widening

From the I-45 Coalition, via the inbox: TxDOT is starting to roll again on the I-45 project!   TxDOT has just scheduled the 3rd round of public meetings to be held Thursday, Nov 14 at Aldine Ninth Grade School, 10650 North Freeway & Tuesday, Nov 19 at Jeff Davis High School, 1101 Quitman. Both meetings will […]

Yes, but why is traffic so bad at these places?

Two things that aren’t mentioned in this story but need to be. Two adjoining stretches of U.S. 59 in downtown and west Houston fared the worst regionally on an annual list of the 100-most congested freeways in the state, compiled by Texas Department of Transportation and Texas A&M Transportation Institute officials. [David] Schrank, a co-author […]

And that’s a wrap on Special Session 3

Hallelujah. The Texas Legislature adjourned its third special session since May on Monday night after passing a measure estimated to increase transportation funding by $1.2 billion annually if Texas voters approve it next year. “Let’s adjourn this mutha,” said state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, after the Senate had sent House Bill 1 back over to […]

Yeah, they’re still working on a transportation funding bill

The committee hearings will continue until morale improves. After consulting with members from both the House and Senate, state Rep. Joe Pickett decided to make some minor changes to his latest transportation funding proposal. On Thursday — the third day of the third special session — a House committee gave his altered proposal its endorsement. […]

Maybe the same failed approach will work this time

It could happen, right? Transportation experts now estimate that the state needs $5billion a year to keep Texas moving. The proposal that fell apart in the House this week would add less than a billion annually. And after months of wrangling, relations between the House and Senate have grown increasingly testy. Republicans, who control both […]

Special Session 3: Beyond Thunderdome

Beyond ridiculous, if you ask me, not that they did. Standing before mostly empty chairs in the 150-member Texas House on Tuesday, House Speaker Joe Straus adjourned the second special session and announced that Gov. Rick Perry would be calling them all back for a third special session later in the day. After gaveling in […]

Transportation deal dies

Technically, it’s not dead till sine die, but it sure is on life support. A compromise plan to spend $848 million on Texas highways just landed in a ditch. House members voted down a plan to split oil and gas production money between the state’s economic stabilization fund and highway spending. It needed 100 votes […]

Transportation funding deal completed

All over but for the voting. House and Senate leaders reached final agreement Saturday afternoon on how to protect the state’s rainy day fund as they propose to shift half of future rainy day dollars into roads, according to an official close to the negotiations. There would be no “floor” — or minimum balance for […]

Lege may have found a way on transportation funding

As of Thursday, Special Session 3: Beyond Thunderdome was looming. Both chambers of the Legislature were filled with activity Thursday afternoon but they ended up essentially where they had started: waiting on House and Senate negotiators to come up with a transportation funding plan most lawmakers could agree on. There was little sign Thursday that […]

Transportation bill heads to conference committee

There’s still that fundamental disagreement in approach to be worked out somehow. Representatives from the House and Senate are preparing to spend the next week informally negotiating a compromise proposal to boost funding for the Texas Department of Transportation, with the goal of fully passing a measure by next Friday. Senators convened briefly Friday to […]

Senate passes non-abortion bills, committee passes HB2

The decks are cleared on the Senate side for the main event. In a speedy Thursday morning meeting with little debate, the upper chamber passed Senate Bill 2 with a 30-1 vote, allowing Texas judges and juries to sentence 17-year-olds convicted of capital murderers to life in prison with parole after 40 years. It also […]

Elsewhere in the House

No action on transportation yet. House budget writers on Tuesday ended a hearing on transportation funding with no clear decision about how to raise money for Texas roads. The House Appropriations Committee is considering several proposals to see which has the most support, even if that means trying to pass a combination of bills in […]

There are other items on this session’s agenda

I know, hard to believe, but there are two non-abortion items on the session agenda, and the Senate has already taken preliminary action on two of them. Six hours before a marathon state House committee hearing on abortion, two Senate committees quickly kicked out less controversial bills on transportation funding and criminal justice reform to […]

Transportation funding advances

Between redistricting and abortion, transportation funding has taken a bit of a back seat in the special session despite being the first additional item on the agenda. The Senate took the first step on that yesterday. Despite concerns raised by both Republicans and Democrats, senators on Tuesday tentatively passed a resolution that aims to solve […]

Perry signs HB5, adds transportation to the special session

There had been some buzz about a possible veto, but in the end this was to be expected. When Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 5 on Monday, he ended weeks of speculation that he might veto the high-profile education legislation because of concerns that it would weaken high school graduation standards. The bill, by […]

Building speculative privatized toll roads is risky business

Just ask the Texas 130 investors. Moody’s Investor Service has downgraded the credit rating of the private company that built and operates the Texas 130 toll road extension, a rating that could continue to drop unless traffic “aggressively” grows on the road in the next two years. Moody’s issued the rating April 12 after putting […]

Transportation funding shouldn’t be intractable

As previously noted, Sens. Tommy Williams and Robert Nichols want to take another crack at finding additional funds for transportation. The problem, as always, is political

Calling to add to the call

The special session is just a day old, and already legislators are lining up to extend its agenda to cover things that didn’t get done during regulation time. Senate Finance Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, and Senate Transportation Chairman Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, have filed a resolution that would ask voters to approve diverting some of […]

Where things stand with two weeks to go in the legislative session

With the Thursday midnight deadline for bills to pass on second reading in the House, I figured this would be a good time to take a look at the status of some major legislation and legislative priorities. There are two weeks left in the regular session, and the specter of overtime is hazy but present. […]

Perry works against his own stated interests

I don’t understand this at all. A bill that would have increased vehicle registration fees to raise money for transportation projects met its demise in the Texas House on Thursday. House Bill 3664 by state Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, was designed to generate money to pay down the state’s transportation-related debt and fund improvements […]

Senate officially taps the Rainy Day Fund

Well done. Texas senators hammered out a sweeping deal to increase state funding for water and transportation projects and schools on Tuesday, tackling some of the thorniest issues of the legislative session all at once. The senators voted 31-0 for Senate Joint Resolution 1, which would ask Texas voters to approve taking $5.7 billion out […]

More on that underutilized high speed toll road

More toll road travails. Traffic counts on the new section of Texas 130, released Friday by the Texas Department of Transportation based on newspaper open records requests, show that the tollway southeast of Austin in its first couple of months was seeing fewer than 3,000 vehicles a day. About 5 percent of those were big […]

Still arguing about road funding

I still don’t quite get why the obvious solution is so blithely dismissed. With most of the work of developing a state budget behind them, lawmakers can now drill deeper into the state’s spending plan to find a way to fund billions of dollars in road maintenance, highway upgrades and other projects under the umbrella […]

Senate to tap that Rainy Day Fund

It is just sitting there, not doing any good if it’s unused. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, laid out an ambitious plan to spend $6 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund on Thursday morning while also setting the stage for a serious debate in the remaining weeks of the session on […]

Get ready to hear more about Texas high speed rail

I for one can’t wait. Texas Central High-Speed Railway has spent the last few years privately — very privately — looking at how to connect Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston with a bullet train moving upwards of 200 miles per hour. But soon, they say, those private plans will become quite public when they issue a notice of intent. […]

There’s no such thing as a free road

I have an issue with this. Texas’ boom of toll roads has made the “free” part of freeway mean something different lately. As toll lanes become the preferred choice for adding capacity to Texas roads, a growing number of state lawmakers and toll critics are looking for assurances that state-built freeways will stay open to […]

Maybe there are fewer people who want to drive 85 than we thought

Oops. The privately operated section of the Texas 130 tollway south of Mustang Ridge is attracting about half the predicted traffic, according to Moody’s Investor Service, prompting it to investigate downgrading credit ratings for more than $1.1 billion in debt attached to the toll road. [...] TxDOT’s contract with the concession company lays out complex […]