The Regional Transportation Council approved its regional 10-year project list for highways throughout Dallas-Fort Worth during an Aug. 10 meeting.

The action came after discussion among council members about an apparent reduction in proposed funds for US 380 and Spur 399 projects in Collin County.

What you need to know

Each year, the transportation council approves a set of projects that is then approved by the Texas Transportation Committee as part of the state’s Unified Transportation Program. The list of projects includes descriptions and funding sources broken down into several categories.

About $480 million in total was removed from the projects between the May and July drafts of the Unified Transportation Program, according to a Regional Transportation Council presentation.

Funding proposed for a portion of US 380 showed about $610 million in a May draft of the program. An updated draft presented for public comment in July only proposed about $481 million for the same project.

The Spur 399 project had about $638 million of proposed funding in the earlier draft, but that total fell to about $277 million in July.

A closer look

The US 380 project is estimated to cost more than $810 million to construct. The project is slated to begin accepting construction bids in 2027 or 2028.

The Spur 399 project is estimated to cost about $938 million and is expected to begin accepting construction bids in 2032.

Funds for both projects were reallocated to the IH 30 Canyon project in Dallas to rebalance the state’s funding categories, according to the presentation. More funds were expected to be added to the projects as part of a deal between TxDOT and the council, but they were not present on the latest draft.

What they’re saying

Michael Morris, the transportation director of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, said the loss of funding doesn’t hurt the ability to buy land for right of way on those projects.

If Morris had had a choice, he would have picked different projects to lose funding, he said.

“In this particular case with all the meetings that we’ve had, my fear is that we’re going to lose 380,” he said.

McKinney Mayor George Fuller, who sits on the council, said the two projects were essential for the region and community. The thought the projects may further be delayed is “devastating,” he said.

To lose ground on the project after four years of battle in the community is tough; without commitment that the project will continue to happen, it will erode confidence, he said.

“I totally understand the concept that we’re not going to need construction funds [until] [20]26, [20]27,” Fuller said. “But ... they’ve made the shift without any kind of commitment identifying that this has been changed and modified in this plan for this reason.”

Despite the loss in funding on those projects, this year’s transportation program includes about $288 million more than the previous year.

Denton County Judge Andy Eads made a motion to approve the project list and funding as it appears in the final draft of the state’s transportation program. If TxDOT is coming to the table with more money than before, the council should proceed with the terms as described in the program in the spirit of partnership, Eads said.

“We’ve all been around long enough to know that there’s lots of proposals and lots of drafts,” he said. “There’s usually a final submittal of what the deal terms are, and partners may start a negotiation with one dollar amount in mind, and things develop. Sometimes it's out of the hands of the parties that are doing the negotiations.”

The council approved the motion with an amendment directing Chair Gyna Bivens to ask for additional communication from the state's transportation committee regarding intentions for the projects.

The Texas Transportation Committee is slated to meet at 10 a.m. Aug. 16. Its agenda includes consideration of approving the 2024 transportation program.