In 2007, Texas voters authorized the Legislature to authorize up to $5 billion in general obligation bonds – bonds supported using general revenue, rather than fuel tax revenues - to be spent for transportation projects. This ballot item was called Proposition 12.
The 81st Legislature authorized the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to obligate up to $2 billion in Proposition 12 bonds for non-toll projects and $1 billion in Proposition 12 bonds for the State Infrastructure Bank.
The current general appropriations act (Senate Bill 1) provides some direction for how Proposition 12 proceeds must be spent, which served as the basis for TxDOT’s project recommendations. Specifically, SB1 specified that the $2 billion be spent on non-toll highway projects, with $1 billion expended by September 2011. As a result, many projects in the earlier planning stages are not eligible for Proposition 12 funding.
Project Selection Process
TxDOT used the same collaborative method used to select American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) projects. TxDOT districts and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) were asked to develop a list of all needed projects that fit the bond program’s requirements.
In all, Texas MPOs and TxDOT districts identified over 850 possible projects with a construction value of over $8.9 billion.
TxDOT staff chose to divide those projects among three areas and use the following metrics to determine which would be recommended for funding:
In north central Texas, Interstate 35 vehicle traffic has grown continually over the last decade, as TxDOT began planning for expansion improvements.
From 2006 through 2008, Bell and McLennan counties both had more than 200 vehicle crashes occur on I-35, with more than 300 individual injuries suffered annually.
This improvement project is part of a 94-mile corridor expansion through Bell, McLennan, and Hill counties. As one of the top corridor projects in the state, these planned improvements for I-35 will enhance safety for motorists and provide for more efficient movement of goods as traffic continues to grow.
Interstate 610/U.S. 290 Interchange
Houston’s Interstate 610/U.S. 290 Interchange is ranked 13 on the list of 100 Most Congested Roadway Segments in Texas.
According to a Texas Transportation Institute study, 229,812 hours of delay per mile driven are lost due to congestion on this roadway segment. A 20-minute free-flow vehicle trip through this area increases to 31 minutes during rush hour and is projected to increase to 43 minutes without improvements.
The interchange sees an average of 200 crashes annually or at least one crash every other day.
This reconstruction project will enhance safety and increase mobility through this heavily-traveled corridor.
I-45 in southeast Houston, locally known as the Gulf Freeway, is ranked number 25 on the 100 Most Congested Roadway Segments in Texas.
Traffic projections for this roadway segment are projected to grow from a current average daily count of 173,000 vehicles to 268,000 vehicles daily by the year 2022.
The project will expand the facility from 6 to 10 mainlanes, increase frontage road lanes from 2 to 3, and extend the reversible high occupancy vehicle lane in each direction.
El Paso’s Loop 375 serves as an alternate route to Interstate 10, supplementing access to the U.S. Army’s Fort Bliss. It carries a considerable volume of traffic as the primary east-west route in the northern El Paso metropolitan area.
Positioned near the country’s border with Mexico and state line with New Mexico, this four-mile project will expand the facility from a two-lane undivided roadway to a four-lane divided roadway serving local, national, and international needs.
San Antonio’s Wurzbach Parkway is a roadway improvement project that was developed and partially constructed more than a decade ago. Its improvements have never been completely constructed. It is located in a northern section of the city that is currently experiencing high levels of traffic congestion.
This funding will help to complete its reconstruction and provide another major east-west roadway in north San Antonio. The project will expand the facility from a four- to a six-lane divided roadway.