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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Gravel Plan on Pause, but Fallout Continues

A driver maneuvers around a badly damaged portion of the IH 37 frontage road south of FM 99 in Live Oak County, TX on Firday, August 16, 2013
A driver maneuvers around a badly damaged portion of the IH 37 frontage road south of FM 99 in Live Oak County, TX on Firday, August 16, 2013
Texas Weekly

Debate over the Texas Department of Transportation's controversial plan to convert some damaged asphalt roads to gravel has come up in a fight between the House and Senate to boost the agency's funding. House Speaker Joe Straus says he is unconvinced that the agency's plan to convert paved roads to gravel is needed.

The Colorado River is shown east of Longhorn Dam in Austin. The capital city is almost entirely reliant on the Colorado River and its system of dammed reservoirs for water,
The Colorado River is shown east of Longhorn Dam in Austin. The capital city is almost entirely reliant on the Colorado River and its system of dammed reservoirs for water,

Expensive State Troubles and Thrifty Voters

Texas voters said yes to a big-ticket proposition for water projects and no to some other spending items, leaving a question for policymakers with a to-do list full of expensive problems: Is the public willing to go along? With no consistent message from voters, money is always politicians' biggest problem.

Worsening Austin Traffic Prompts Talk of Toll Road Swap

As state and local leaders consider what to do about the most congested segment of road in Texas, Interstate 35 through central Austin, the possibility of swapping the interstate with a nearby toll road remains a possibility. The mere fact that such a switch is being considered indicates how worried officials are about future congestion.

TribuneFest: All Transportation is Local

At the Trib's Oct. 17 symposium on transportation at Southern Methodist University, Aman Batheja sat down with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins; Tarrant County Commissioner Gary Fickes; John Langmore, vice chairman of Austin's Capitol Metropolitan Transportation Authority board; and former U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, chief of public engagement for VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 10/21/13

M. Smith on wasted private tutoring efforts, Satija on government protection for the lesser prairie chicken, Root finds a new nest of Democratic trial lawyers, Malewitz finds a border skirmish featuring mollusks, Hamilton with the latest on politics at the University of Texas, Batheja on the link between vehicle traffic and bond ratings, Aguilar finds some promise in a juvenile justice program in Eagle Pass and Aaronson covers the court fight over new abortion regulations: The best of our best for the week of Oct. 21-25, 2013.

The 85 mph speed limit on a portion of the SH 130 toll road between Austin and Seguin is the highest speed limit in the nation.
The 85 mph speed limit on a portion of the SH 130 toll road between Austin and Seguin is the highest speed limit in the nation.

Debt Issues Tied to SH 130 Could Impact Toll Projects

A year after opening, a privately operated toll road in Central Texas may be in danger of defaulting next year, increasing the scrutiny of a funding model touted by transportation advocates and state leaders as key to managing the state's growth.

A driver maneuvers around a badly damaged portion of the IH 37 frontage road south of FM 99 in Live Oak County, TX on Firday, August 16, 2013
A driver maneuvers around a badly damaged portion of the IH 37 frontage road south of FM 99 in Live Oak County, TX on Firday, August 16, 2013

TxDOT May Get Extra Money for Damaged Roads

State lawmakers are expected to give the Texas Department of Transportation an extra $250 million for work in counties affected by the drilling boom, but that likely won't stop some paved roads from being converted to gravel.

The JR Central N700 Series, a Japanese Shinkansen bullet train developed by two railway companies in Japan.
The JR Central N700 Series, a Japanese Shinkansen bullet train developed by two railway companies in Japan.

The Politics of High-Speed Rail in Texas

Texas Weekly

Details of an expensive, privately funded high-speed rail project connecting Dallas and Houston will come out next year, just in time for candidates for office to weigh in. 

Attendees filled the Alexander Convention Center on Tuesday evening for a Texas Department of Transportation hearing in Cotulla, TX on their controversial plan to convert some paved roads to gravel to save money on maintenance.
Attendees filled the Alexander Convention Center on Tuesday evening for a Texas Department of Transportation hearing in Cotulla, TX on their controversial plan to convert some paved roads to gravel to save money on maintenance.

A New Boom for Oil, but a Bust for State's Rural Roads

As the Texas Department of Transportation blames a funding shortfall for its plans to convert some rural roads to gravel, South Texans argue they are being unfairly punished for the region’s drilling boom. Texas' coffers are bulging from oil production taxes, and they say maintaining roads damaged by drilling trucks should be the state's priority.  

Legislature Gave 3 Counties Power to Raise Car Fee

While Texas lawmakers this year failed to find the billions of dollars needed to address a transportation funding shortfall, Bexar, El Paso and Webb counties managed to win special approval to raise their vehicle registration fees, with the extra revenue going toward local transportation projects.

Texas Transportation Commission chair Ted Houghton, l, confers with TXDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson during the meeting on August 29, 2013 regarding budget shortfalls.
Texas Transportation Commission chair Ted Houghton, l, confers with TXDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson during the meeting on August 29, 2013 regarding budget shortfalls.

TxDOT Officials Address Concerns on Cost-Cutting Plans

During a meeting when local and state officials accused the agency of poor communication, Texas Department of Transportation officials confirmed plans Thursday to delay converting more asphalt roads to gravel.

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TxDOT employees Brad Shepard and Canaan Johnson finish up after putting asphalt cold mix down for edge repairs on Interstate 35-S near Parmer Lane on Monday August 19th, 2013.
TxDOT employees Brad Shepard and Canaan Johnson finish up after putting asphalt cold mix down for edge repairs on Interstate 35-S near Parmer Lane on Monday August 19th, 2013.

New Law Aims to Protect TxDOT Workers

Texas drivers will have to slow down or move over one lane when passing Texas Department of Transportation workers under a new law aimed at protecting their safety. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

Before and after images of of the frontage road on I-37 in Live Oak County. The Texas Department of Transportation converted the badly-damaged asphalt road to an unpaved road the week of August 19, 2013.
Before and after images of of the frontage road on I-37 in Live Oak County. The Texas Department of Transportation converted the badly-damaged asphalt road to an unpaved road the week of August 19, 2013.

TxDOT's Cost-Cutting Plans Draw Local Outrage

With the announcement of two new cost-cutting proposals, the Texas Department of Transportation has managed to anger dozens of local officials in both rural and urban parts of the state. This week, the agency began converting certain rural road segments from asphalt to gravel. It also may stop maintaining some roads in large cities.

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.

Plan to Convert Roads to Gravel Begins Despite Pushback

Starting Monday, the Texas Department of Transportation plans to convert more than 80 miles of damaged roads in South and East Texas from pavement to gravel. Lawmakers and residents worry it will create safety hazards and reduce property values. But TxDOT says converting paved roads to gravel is the only safe plan it can afford.

Mayor Pro Tem Stephen Lindsey of Mansfield (yellow) leads the pack during the first Elected Officials Bike Ride in Irving on Aug. 6, 2013, as part of the Transportation and Infrastructure Summit. Riders included nearly 15 mayors and council members from around North Texas with the common goal of promoting biking in their neighborhoods.
Mayor Pro Tem Stephen Lindsey of Mansfield (yellow) leads the pack during the first Elected Officials Bike Ride in Irving on Aug. 6, 2013, as part of the Transportation and Infrastructure Summit. Riders included nearly 15 mayors and council members from around North Texas with the common goal of promoting biking in their neighborhoods.

More Texas Cities Promoting Bicycle Use

From expanding bike lanes and trails to launching bike-share programs, more Texas cities are investing resources to encourage bicycle use. While curbing traffic and air pollution prompted initial interest, public health, quality of life and economic development are now major drivers of the initiatives.

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Law Enables Drivers to Display Insurance on Phones

Motorists in Texas will soon be allowed to use their cellphones to show proof of insurance during traffic stops. Proponents of the legislation say that the law will increase at the efficiency at those stops. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1.