The Texas Dept. of Transportation anticipates using money from a variety of sources to let more than $4 billion in projects in 2010, up significantly from last year.
“Going from $2.7 billion in 2009 to $4.2 billion will be a big increase over what contractors saw for bidding opportunities,” says John Barton, TxDOT assistant executive director for engineering operations.
Thomas L. Johnson, executive vice president of Associated General Contractors of Texas in Austin, adds, “We are not quite back to where we were three years ago, but we’re in substantially better shape than last year or the year before.”
Johnson says that in 2007, TxDOT let approximately $2.7 billion, and in 2006, $4.8 billion. “We still have stimulus money being let,” he adds. “In addition, the department will start letting obligation bonds authorized two years ago by the public.”
Where the 2010 dollars are coming from Traditional revenue from state and federal fuel taxes and state registration fees will fund about $1.6 billion in new jobs. The department still has about $700 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded contracts to award. All together, the state received about $2.6 billion from the stimulus program.
The Proposition 14 bond program, with debts paid through future fuel taxes and registration fees, will fund about $1 billion in fiscal year 2010. TxDOT plans to build approximately $40 million in direct connectors to U.S. Route 290 and Interstate 35 in Austin through the bond proceeds.
Legislators also gave the department the authority to issue approximately $2 billion in bonds from Proposition 12, supported by general revenue. Half of that will be lent to communities for infrastructure projects and $1 billion to build nontoll roads.
“That’s new money to us, a one-time opportunity,” Barton says.
TxDOT also will receive regional toll revenue from the North Texas Toll Authority to fund about $1 billion in projects this year.
“They paid those, so they could build, operate and collect tolls on the State Highway 121 project a couple of years ago,” Barton says.
On U.S. Route 287 in Ellis County, the department plans to let an approximately $31-million contract funded with the toll revenue, and in Denton County, it plans a $24-million project expanding FM 720 from two to four lanes. In April, the department plans to award an approximately $33-million project to expand and reconstruct U.S. Route 75 in Collin County.
In addition to funding TxDOT projects, NITA has several projects under way. The toll authority expects to begin...