AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 44) – Governor Greg Abbott has announced the adoption of the Texas Department of Transportation’s 2023 Unified Transportation Program (UTP) – advancing a record $85 billion, ten-year statewide roadway construction plan.
This news was announced Tuesday afternoon, where the Office of the Governor says the 2023 UTP reflects an unprecedented level of projected transportation funding dedicated to improving transportation safety, addressing congestion and rural connectivity, and preserving roadways for Texas drivers.
The UTP funds will coincide with an additional $32 billion over the life of the program for routine maintenance contracts 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.
The Office of the Governor says many projects in the UTP plan are roadway segments identified on Texas’ 100 Most Congested Roadways list and critical connectivity corridors. The projects will be funded through legislative and voter-approved initiatives which allocate portions of oil and gas taxes, sales taxes, and other money to the state highway fund. These initiatives have increased the UTP over $50 billion over the ten-year period, with $34.3 billion in projects approved in the 2014 UTP in August 2013.
With rural regions of the state supporting the critical energy and agricultural industries, the approved plan includes a historic increase in funding to $14 billion for projects in rural areas. Two featured projects listed in this UTP from the Waco District include US 190 from I-14 to FM-2657 and State Spur 298 from US-84 to Cheddars Drive. The US-190 project in Coryell County ($72.4 million) adds an additional two lanes of traffic to the existing relief route upgrading it to a freeway section. The SS-298 project in McLennan County ($36.4 million) improves the intersection at New Road and improves traffic flow and access along the entire segment.
The $8.5 billion of average annual investment programmed in the UTP over the next ten years is expected to yield an estimated $15.5 billion per year in economic benefits, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. These benefits are a result of increased labor income and business output, as well as the addition of 58,500 direct and indirect jobs.
The UTP is a planning document that authorizes highway projects for development and construction. Additionally, the UTP identifies public transportation, maritime, aviation, and rail investments. Projects are selected by TxDOT and local transportation leaders based on effectiveness in addressing criteria such as safety, pavement condition, capacity, and rural connectivity, with opportunities for public input at both the state and local levels.
For more information on the UTP projects, you can go here.