The Texas Dept. of Transportation (TxDOT) will spend a record $85 billion on highway construction over the next ten years, under the state’s 2023 Unified Transportation Plan (UTP) announced Aug. 29.
Developed in collaboration with elected officials, local planning organizations and the public, the UTP guides the development of work to address transportation needs statewide. The plan will fund a wide range of rural and urban projects, including many that TxDOT has identified as being the most congested in the state, as well as critical connectivity corridors. More than $4 billion will go to expand the I-35 corridor in Austin, while the I-45 corridor in Houston is set to receive $3.8 billion. Four projects for the I-30 East Corridor project in Dallas County will receive $1.7 billion.
The 2023 UTP also increases funding for highway projects in rural regions that support energy and agricultural industries to $14 billion. Those allocations will help fund tine widening and bridge improvement projects along I-20 around Odessa totaling $1.24 billion, and a $66-million widening of U.S. Route 83 in Kimball County.
Funding for the 2023 UTP projects will come from legislative and voter-approved initiatives that allocate portions of oil and gas taxes, sales taxes and other money to the state highway fund. According to TxDOT, these initiatives have increased the overall UTP by $50 billion over the ten years.
In addition, TxDOT says 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.
TxDOT cites Texas A&M Transportation Institute estimates of economic benefits from the 2023 UTP being nearly double the program’s $8.5-billion annual investment.