As Fort Bend County and the Greater Houston area continue to grow, the agency responsible for mobility funding in the region is predicting that travel options other than cars will be necessary to keep Houstonians moving.
After initially having passed the deadline in June, the Houston-Galveston Area Council pushed back the date for jurisdictions to submit road projects for the Transportation Improvement Plan and Regional Transportation Plan to later in the summer.
The TIP and RTP are financial plans for transportation projects, including road and public transit projects as well as maintenance work. Projects identified are of regional importance and have been proposed for funding by federal, state or local sources.
During the July 27 H-GAC Transportation Policy Council meeting, H-GAC Director of Transportation Alan Clark said the deadline was moved to allow staff to revise the amount of money used for the projects and analyze the benefit of road projects, including for safety and reduced travel delay. As a result, cities and counties will have more time to submit projects. Clark said the projects are not being delayed because of federal funding.
“The committee over these projects needs more time,” he said. “I think we will be able to complete the remaining details this month and we come to you in August with how we should proceed with the [project] calls.”
Currently, H-GAC has $922 million available for new projects from 2019-28, including federally matched funding, with $322 million currently programmed into the plans and $895 million in reserves for cost overruns or one-time funding expenses, according to a presentation from Clark.
Other topics at the latest meeting included a report on the public meetings discussing 2045 RTP, which received feedback on citizens wanting a multimodal transportation system, bicycle-pedestrian support on existing roadways and improved road signage.
Stephan Gage, the chief transportation planner for H-GAC, gave a presentation on the Regional Safety Plan, which includes methods to reduce speeding and distracted driving with citations. Representatives from the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County previewed a potential METROMAX public transportation system, a system of premium buses with faster travel times using HOV lanes and designed with more comfort and convenience.
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