SAN ANTONIO – The Texas Transportation Commission approved a 10-year transportation plan Tuesday afternoon, selecting priorities for projects and funding to improve safety and ease congestion across the state.
The 2022 Unified Transportation Program (UTP) includes $74 billion in priorities, with more than $4 billion allocated for the San Antonio district alone.
“While not a strict budget, the UTP is a plan that authorizes TxDOT and our local planning partners to prepare projects for construction based on a 10-year planning forecast,” said Jessica Butler, transportation planning and programming division director for TxDOT.
In the short term (four years or fewer), the 2022 UTP includes the I-35 Northeast Expansion project that would add six express lanes to the highway, as well as the reconstruction of the I-10 West at Loop 1604 interchange.
In the long term, the plan includes projects on State Highway 151 and Highway 90 from State Highway 211 to Loop 410.
A focus on safety
The 2022 UTP targets $3.4 billion in funding for safety programs, as the state aims to reduce the number of traffic fatalities to zero by 2050. And during the meeting, Commission Chair Bruce Bugg announced a task force aimed at finding more money from different funding categories for safety.
“There are billions of dollars that we think can be focused and reappointed and reapportioned for safety,” Bugg said.
The task force will partner with local metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to find ways to reallocate the federal funding regions receive for safety projects. The efforts are taking on new urgency as traffic fatalities are trending upward again after declines in previous years.
“There is not a moment to waste to ramp up our collective efforts and do all that we can to save lives,” said Commissioner Laura Ryan. “The trend in roadway fatalities is going in the wrong direction, and not a single death is acceptable. These numbers represent real people and real losses. We must do more, and it takes all of us working together.”
Ryan and fellow Commission Alvin New will co-chair the new task force. First, it will focus on funding ongoing safety initiatives, including rumble strips, cable barriers, wider shoulders and more divided roadways.
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