In a groundbreaking move to boost Texas’ transportation infrastructure, Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Aug. 17 a massive $142 billion investment, with a substantial portion allocated for projects in the greater Austin area.
The mammoth funding entails a significant allocation of $100 billion for the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) 2024 Unified Transportation Program (UTP) — a 10-year road construction plan. This marks a surge of $25 billion from the previous year’s allocation. The UTP plays a pivotal role in shaping the development and execution of transportation projects throughout Texas, extending its influence over public transportation, maritime, aviation, and rail-related initiatives.
Local media outlet KXAN News highlighted that the Austin region would receive over $6 billion from the fund. The centerpiece of this local investment is the I-35 Capital Express Central project, with an allocated $4.5 billion. This transformative project aims to broaden the highway stretch between U.S. Route 290 East, north of downtown, to State Highway 71 and Ben White Boulevard to the south.
Additional key projects for Austin comprise:
- $383.6 million for U.S. Route 281, focusing on enhancing safety and mobility between U.S. 290 and the Comal County line.
- An allocation of $105.2 million to construct overpasses along SH 71 at Tucker Hill Lane and Pope Bend Road, eliminating signals.
- $43.9 million to facilitate an overpass on SH 71 at FM 1209.
- $81.8 million dedicated to both widening and realigning FM 812, connecting U.S. Route 183 to State Highway 21.
- $80 million to introduce grade-separated intersection improvements at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 281 and SH 71.
- $31.2 million set aside for the extension of frontage roads on SH 71, extending from Riverside Drive to U.S. Hwy. 183.
- A $32 million push for “intelligent transportation systems” along the I-35 corridor.
- $164.5 million geared towards expanding RM 620 South into a six-lane divided highway.
- And, $61.3 million for the widening of U.S. Route 79 from I-35 to east of FM 1460.
Commenting on the landmark investment, Gov. Abbott emphasized its long-term implications: “This plan will not only connect Texans from every corner of our state, it will also bolster our economic growth and ensure Texans and businesses continue to thrive for generations to come.”
Echoing this sentiment, Texas Transportation Commission Chairman, J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., praised the initiative, stating, “This historic investment in our transportation system is critically important to help meet the needs of our fast-growing state.” He credited the leadership of Governor Abbott and the Texas Legislature for the upward trajectory in transportation investments, highlighting their shared vision for “a world-class transportation system focused on safety and congestion relief.”
In his concluding remarks, Gov. Abbott underscored the overarching objective of the project — to amplify economic opportunities for communities scattered across Texas.
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