TEXAS — The state of Texas has pushed forward a record $85 billion for the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) 10-year transportation plan to reconstruct roadways for better traveling safety. Gov. Greg Abbott shared the announcement of the adoption of TxDOT’s 2023 Unified Transportation Program (UTP) Tuesday, Aug. 30.

The UTP looks to address transportation safety, congestion and rural connectivity and roadways’ preservation for Texans.

“The State of Texas is working to ensure the transportation needs of our fast-growing state are met and that the safety of Texans on the roadways is protected,” said Abbott. “TxDOT’s 2023 Unified Transportation Program is a critical step toward addressing the diverse needs of Texans in rural, urban, and metropolitan communities. This 10-year plan to address transportation needs statewide and dedicate $85 billion to improve roadways will be a huge boon to our state’s infrastructure and booming economy. As more people move to Texas and businesses grow across the state, we are working together to make sure Texans’ transportation safety and mobility are secured and businesses can flourish for generations to come.”

A hub for documenting highway projects’ authorizations, the UTP distinguishes public transportation, maritime, aviation and rail investments. TxDOT and local transportation leaders choose which projects would best work as a solution to improve safety, pavement condition, capacity and rural connectivity. There are also opportunities for public feedback from state and local levels.

According to the governor’s news release, most projects in the UTP plan are roadway segments found on Texas’ 100 Most Congested Roadways list and critical connectivity corridors. Through legislative and voter-approved initiatives, allocated portions of oil and gas taxes, sales taxes, and other money go into the state highway fund to support the projects. With these initiatives, the UTP shot up over $50 billion over the 10-year period, with an approval of $34 billion in projects for the 2014 UTP in August 2013.

Given the rural regions’ support of the critical energy and agricultural industries, the approved plan includes a historic increase in funding to $14 billion for projects in rural areas.

“The UTP reflects a continued focus on improving transportation safety as the top priority, maintaining our current system, addressing traffic congestion, and improving statewide connectivity over the next decade,” said TxDOT Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg, Jr. “Additionally, we are making significant progress in addressing congestion in our busiest parts of the state through our Texas Clear Lanes initiative, which improves top chokepoints in our largest metro areas.”

“Texas’ rapid growth reinforces the importance of investing in transportation to efficiently move both people and freight across our diverse state,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “TxDOT is working hard to not only build the new roads and transportation capacity Texas needs, but to maintain the more than 80,000 miles of roads and other transportation infrastructure under our care.”

In concurrence with an additional $32 billion, UTP funding will be available during the program’s life span for routine maintenance contracts and project development, like planning, professional engineering and right-of-way acquisition for more than 7,000 transportation projects and a sum investment of $117 billion statewide, according to the governor’s release. 

“The $8.5 billion of average annual investment programmed in the UTP over the next 10 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 governor’s office said.

Click here for more information on UTP projects. 

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story misrepresented the amount of dollars toward the 10-year statewide roadway contruction. (Corrected 08/31/22)