Tribpedia: Transportation

Tribpedia

Texas requires an extensive and expensive system of highways, railways and roads.

Building new roads and maintaining old ones has become increasingly costly, and efforts to keep that balance have been politically perilous.

The Trans-Texas Corridor — an attempt to pull together a master plan for the next stage of transportation building in the state — fell to political foes who objected ...

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Firm Proposes Building Private Toll Road Near Dallas

Traffic on I-30 on the eastern side of Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall on June 6. This stretch of highway has become known for bad rush-hour traffic, which is expected to worsen as the area population grows. A proposed private tollway running between Greenville and Wylie looks to relieve that congestion.
Traffic on I-30 on the eastern side of Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall on June 6. This stretch of highway has become known for bad rush-hour traffic, which is expected to worsen as the area population grows. A proposed private tollway running between Greenville and Wylie looks to relieve that congestion.

The Texas Turnpike Corporation of Dallas wants to build a private toll road in an area northeast of Dallas. If built, the road would be the only private toll road in the state and one of the only such facilities in the country. Local transportation planners are keeping an open mind.

Uber and Lyft, two San Francisco-based transportation networking companies, have launched services in several Texas cities.
Uber and Lyft, two San Francisco-based transportation networking companies, have launched services in several Texas cities.

Uber, Lyft Rolling Forward, but Uncertainty Lingers

Uber and Lyft are now offering their tech-savvy transportation services in Austin, Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio and the Dallas area. But statements from officials say the company's drivers are technically violating local laws. The cities are at varying stages of re-evaluating city regulations overseeing vehicle-for-hire services.

A natural gas drilling boom in the Eagle Ford Shale area in South Texas is straining the area's rural roads as more than 1,000 loaded trucks are needed to bring a single well into production.
A natural gas drilling boom in the Eagle Ford Shale area in South Texas is straining the area's rural roads as more than 1,000 loaded trucks are needed to bring a single well into production.

Lawsuit Over Road Funding Program Leaves Funds in Limbo

LaSalle County, which is in the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale, has sued the Texas Department of Transportation over the administration of a $225 million grant program aimed at repairing roads damaged by oilfield traffic. TxDOT says the program is being handled properly.

The Jefferson Rail Transload Terminal at the Port of Beaumont on April 8, 2014. The terminal offloads oil from rail cars onto barges bound for refineries on the Gulf Coast. (Photo by Michael Stravato)
The Jefferson Rail Transload Terminal at the Port of Beaumont on April 8, 2014. The terminal offloads oil from rail cars onto barges bound for refineries on the Gulf Coast. (Photo by Michael Stravato)

Railroads Filling Void as Oil Pipeline Falls Short

While efforts to move crude oil to Texas via the controversial Keystone pipeline have drawn the most attention, rail companies are seeing a surge in business transporting large amounts of crude oil by train. In Texas, new infrastructure projects are facilitating the delivery of crude by rail to Gulf Coast refineries.

Passengers board the Metro ArlingtonXpress at the University of Texas at Arlington bus stop on March 31, 2014.
Passengers board the Metro ArlingtonXpress at the University of Texas at Arlington bus stop on March 31, 2014.

Afraid It Was Missing the Boat, Arlington Tries the Bus

Arlington, which had been one of the largest U.S. cities without public transportation, launched its first commuter bus line on a trial basis last year. Supporters hope that the city will develop a more robust system over time. But critics say public transportation in Arlington will never justify the cost.

Texas Governor Rick Perry attends groundbreaking ceremony for Teletón USA CRIT children's rehabilitation center in San Antonio, Texas, on August 6th, 2013.
Texas Governor Rick Perry attends groundbreaking ceremony for Teletón USA CRIT children's rehabilitation center in San Antonio, Texas, on August 6th, 2013.

Perry Lobbying for A&M Official to Take Over TxDOT

Gov. Rick Perry is encouraging state transportation commissioners to tap Joe Weber, Texas A&M’s vice president of student affairs, to be the next executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation.

Klyde Warren Park, a five-acre space built on a platform over a freeway in Dallas, was completed in 2012, providing a lively, walkable link between downtown and neighboring Uptown.
Klyde Warren Park, a five-acre space built on a platform over a freeway in Dallas, was completed in 2012, providing a lively, walkable link between downtown and neighboring Uptown.

In Sprawling Texas, Walkability Gains a Toehold

The image of modern Texas as a vast, highway-laced land of car-centric cities and dispersed suburbs still holds largely true. But advocates for more pedestrian-friendly urban cores and communities say interest in making Texas cities more walkable is on the rise.

A Tesla Model S. The California-based electric automaker had considered Texas for its $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory. The company is also hoping to sell cars in Texas but does not have required franchise dealerships, as state law requires.
A Tesla Model S. The California-based electric automaker had considered Texas for its $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory. The company is also hoping to sell cars in Texas but does not have required franchise dealerships, as state law requires.

Regulations Could Harm Texas' Bid for Tesla Plant

Tesla, a manufacturer of high-end electric cars, has named Texas one of four finalists to house its planned $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory. But the state's auto dealership laws  — among the nation's strictest — could hurt its chances, company officials say.

More than 20 years ago, Texas TGV was approved to build a high-speed rail line that would connect Dallas and Houston. It was projected to carry millions of passengers. But the "Texas Supertrain" project never secured the necessary funding and collapsed.
More than 20 years ago, Texas TGV was approved to build a high-speed rail line that would connect Dallas and Houston. It was projected to carry millions of passengers. But the "Texas Supertrain" project never secured the necessary funding and collapsed.

Bullet Train Failed Once, but It's Back for Another Go

As Texas Central Railway works to develop a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston, its leaders say they expect to avoid the pitfalls that killed a similar project more than 20 years ago.

UT/TT Poll: Texans Split on Immigration Overhaul

A slight majority of Texas registered voters would support an overhaul of federal immigration law that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. And 47 percent would rather have local and state officials enforce those laws than the federal government.

New section opening  of the Grand Parkway in Katy, Texas, Saturday, December 14, 2013.
New section opening of the Grand Parkway in Katy, Texas, Saturday, December 14, 2013.

Highways Are Talking Point as Candidates Take to Road

Both Democratic and Republican candidates in 2014 races have pledged to increase resources for the cash-strapped Texas Department of Transportation. While the issue does not draw the emotional response of debates over education reform and abortion regulations, candidates are betting that traffic concerns resonate with voters.

Eddie Posselt (right) works on a 18 Wheeler tanker truck's windshield with his employee Danilo Estaco (inside truck) on Dec. 12, 2013. Posselt moved to Carrizo Springs last year to work in the oil fields, ended up launching Windshields Etc in July. He now runs the business full time.  The oil drilling boom in South Texas' Eagle Ford Shale has also led to a boom in windshield repair and replacement.
Eddie Posselt (right) works on a 18 Wheeler tanker truck's windshield with his employee Danilo Estaco (inside truck) on Dec. 12, 2013. Posselt moved to Carrizo Springs last year to work in the oil fields, ended up launching Windshields Etc in July. He now runs the business full time. The oil drilling boom in South Texas' Eagle Ford Shale has also led to a boom in windshield repair and replacement.

Oil Boom's Unexpected Byproduct: Broken Windshields

A surge in truck traffic related to the drilling boom in parts of Texas has resulted in a smaller boom in the windshield replacement industry. Rural transportation providers say the trucks tend to send rocks and debris flying into vehicles on the road behind them.

TXDOT chief Phil Wilson at an Aug. 29, 2013 board meeting in Austin. Wilson has been tapped to lead the Lower Colorado River Authority.
TXDOT chief Phil Wilson at an Aug. 29, 2013 board meeting in Austin. Wilson has been tapped to lead the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Phil Wilson Named New LCRA General Manager

The Lower Colorado River Authority's board tapped Phil Wilson, the Texas Department of Transportation's executive director, to be the agency's new general manager. The announcement came as a surprise, and TxDOT said it has no transition plan in place for Wilson's departure at the end of the year. 

Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director Phil Wilson gets a ride in a Google self-driving car on Feb. 19, 2013, in front of the Hilton Austin.
Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director Phil Wilson gets a ride in a Google self-driving car on Feb. 19, 2013, in front of the Hilton Austin.

Report: Make Transportation Technology a Priority

Transportation officials see emerging technologies playing a role in helping the state address issues like traffic congestion and safety. A new report, commissioned by the Texas Department of Transportation, stresses the need for the state to consider partnering with the private sector on related initiatives. 

Governor's Race Draws Spotlight on Red Light Cameras

Three candidates for Texas governor have taken different positions on red light cameras, a controversial traffic enforcement tool employed by dozens of Texas cities. While supporters of the cameras insist they reduce accidents, critics argue that they actually trigger more collisions and that cities employ them to collect millions in fines.

View from one of Capital Metro's 1M northbound busses at the intersection of 4th and Congress in Austin.
View from one of Capital Metro's 1M northbound busses at the intersection of 4th and Congress in Austin.

In Austin, Toll Lanes May Give Bus Service a Boost

In Austin, transportation planners are hopeful that a toll project on MoPac Boulevard will eventually help increase ridership on city buses, which will be able to use the new tolled lanes for free. With the practice of "dynamic tolling," tolls will be constantly adjusted to keep traffic flowing, and buses using the lanes could cut some time off their routes.

A damaged portion of the IH 37 frontage road, south of  FM 99 in Live Oak County, Texas on Friday, August 16, 2013. The road is on a list of roads that the Texas Department of Transportation has announced will be converted to gravel because the agency lacks funds to keep them maintained at a safe level.
A damaged portion of the IH 37 frontage road, south of FM 99 in Live Oak County, Texas on Friday, August 16, 2013. The road is on a list of roads that the Texas Department of Transportation has announced will be converted to gravel because the agency lacks funds to keep them maintained at a safe level.

South Texas County Gets Off TxDOT's Gravel List

La Salle County officials have agreed to pay a portion of the repair costs and all the maintenance costs for 20 miles of roads that the Texas Department of Transportation had intended to convert to gravel.