Regional Transportation Council members approved additional funding for two park projects in North Texas and discussed a new policy related to dynamic pricing of managed lanes.

What happened?

On May 9, the RTC approved sending an additional $15 million to two park projects in North Texas: Southern Gateway Park and I-30 Canyon park projects. The additional funding was approved to cover a funding gap created after the North Central Texas Council of Governments was awarded $80 million for four park projects in Dallas and McKinney.

NCTCOG officials originally requested $95 million from the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Grant program, Senior Program Manager Karla Windsor said. Officials assured the U.S. Department of Transportation the NCTCOG could fill the funding gap to ensure the projects move forward, she said.

The specifics

After action from the RTC, an additional $10 million in Surface Transportation Block Grant funds will be used for construction on Southern Gateway Park’s second phase. An additional $5 million in STBG funds was approved for construction on the I-30 Canyon project.

Funding was not changed for Klyde Warren Park in Dallas or the Lower 5 Plaza project in McKinney, according to a staff presentation. Klyde Warren Park received $20 million from the Reconnecting Communities grant. The Lower 5 Plaza project received $15 million.

Also on the agenda

RTC members could vote in June on a new policy that would allow temporary suspension of dynamic pricing on managed lanes during road construction. The RTC’s current policy on managed lanes was last updated in 2016 and requires dynamic pricing on managed lanes, regardless of construction.

Construction can affect traffic congestion on general-purpose lanes and managed lanes, which can affect dynamic pricing on managed lanes, Senior Program Manager Dan Lamers said.

“Under times of major reconstruction, it would be very difficult to be able to maintain the full capacity of those corridors, and therefore it may be necessary to operate a slightly different toll structure in those corridors,” Lamers said.

The new policy would enable district traffic engineers with the Texas Department of Transportation to temporarily suspend dynamic pricing on managed lanes during construction, Lamers said.

If approved by the RTC, the policy would apply to managed lanes on highways such as I-35E while undergoing construction. The district engineer would be able to set a fixed rate for managed lanes, and dynamic pricing would be restored after construction is complete.

The RTC could vote on the new policy and fixed rates for managed lanes on I-35E in June, Transportation Director Michael Morris said.