On Aug. 30, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the adoption of an $85 billion 10-year statewide road construction plan known as the Unified Transportation Program.
The UTP is the master document for the Texas Department of Transportation that connects the state's plans—such as the Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan, the Metropolitan Transportation Plans and the Rural Transportation Plan—to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, which is the four-year construction plan.
The UTP aims to address safety, congestion, rural activity and maintaining Texas roads. According to Abbott's office, the UTP funds will coincide with an additional $32 billion over 10 years for routine maintenance and project development, such as planning, professional engineering and right-of-way acquisition for more than 7,000 transportation projects and a total investment of $117 billion statewide.
Key projects outlined in the plan include $4.5 billion for the I-35 Capital Express Central project to expand the highway in Austin; numerous I-45 projects in Houston, including at I-10 West for over $982 million; the I-35 Northeast Expansion in Comal and Guadalupe counties totaling over $421.5 million; and US 380 in Collin County near McKinney for $807.52 million. A full list of projects is available online in the UTP here.
The UTP has 12 funding categories with each category addressing a specific type of work, according to TxDOT. The UTP also authorizes the distribution of construction dollars to be available over the next 10 years.
In addition to highway projects, the UTP outlines investments in public transportation, maritime, aviation, rail, and freight and international trade.
In a press release, Abbott said the UTP will help with population and economic growth in Texas.
“This 10-year plan to address transportation needs statewide and dedicate $85 billion to improve roadways will be a huge boon to our state's infrastructure and booming economy,” Abbott said. “As more people move to Texas and businesses grow across the state, we are working together to make sure Texans' transportation safety and mobility are secured and businesses can flourish for generations to come."
The projects that will be part of the UTP will be funded through legislative and voter-approved initiatives that allocate portions of oil and gas taxes, sales taxes, and other money to the state highway fund.
The Texas Transportation Commission, the governing board for TxDOT, is required to approve a new 10-year plan each year.
Texas Transportation Commission Chair J. Bruce Bugg Jr. said the UTP remains one of the top priorities of TxDOT.
“The UTP reflects a continued focus on improving transportation safety as the top priority, maintaining our current system, addressing traffic congestion and improving statewide connectivity over the next decade," Bugg said in the release.