H-GAC approves transportation plan, will send to TxDOT by June 19

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Members of the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council unanimously approved the 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Plan at a May 25 meeting, updating what road projects will be targeted over the next four years in the eight-county Houston region.

The TIP is a financial plan for transportation projects, including road projects, public transit projects and maintenance work. Projects identified are of regional importance and have been proposed for funding by federal, state or local sources.

The 2019-2022 TIP includes 309 planned projects, according to Jim Dickinson, senior transportation planner for H-GAC. A total of $7.2 billion has been programmed from 47 sponsors, he said at the May 25 meeting.

Projects in the 2019-2022 plan, which carries projects over from the 2017-2020 TIP, include widening Hwy. 146 near NASA, extending the Hardy Toll Road to Hwy. 59 and reconstructing Loop 610 mainlanes near Cambridge Street. The plan also includes safety and drainage improvements on a variety of roadways. A full list of projects included in the current draft can be found here.

The next step entails sending the document to the Texas Department of Transportation by June 19 for inclusion the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan.

The council approved 15 amendments across the 2017-2020 TIP and the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan at the May 25 meeting.

“We added 15 amendments to the 2017 TIP and the 2040 RTP,” Dickinson said. “These are funds that are used for capital, planning and operating expenditures, maintenance facilities and equipment and to purchase and replace buses.”

A total of $1.5 million in additional funding was approved for the H-GAC Clean Cities/Clean Vehicles Program, which is meant to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from the City of Houston.

The extra $1.5 million will go towards replacing transit vehicles and heavy duty trucks, Dickinson said. The program has replaced more than 3,300 vehicles since its creation, he said

Amendments for the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan, which focuses on larger scale transportation projects, were related to safety performance measures and enhancing travel, tourism and intercity buses. The amendments were required as a part of the Fixing America’s Transportation Act passed by former President Barack Obama in 2015, which promotes collaboration between metropolitan planning organizations, the state departments of transportation and public transportation providers.

Patrick Mandapaka, assistant director for H-GAC, said the plan focuses on the improvement of public transit and defining responsibilities for each entity. The next step for the RTP is to submit a memorandum of understanding for the FAST Act to the other entities to be approved by May 27.

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Chevall Pryce
Chevall Pryce joined Community Impact in 2017 after graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in Journalism and experience with the student newspaper, The Battalion. He currently reports on various topics in Cy-Fair, including economics, development and legislature as well as community events and businesses.
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