The Texas Dept. of Transportation (TxDOT) has been selected as ENR Texas & Louisiana’s 2014 Owner of the Year. An in-depth article discussing the agency’s accomplishments, innovations and major work will be featured in the April 14 print edition.

Every year, the ENR regional sections select an owner to spotlight based on several criteria: the number and size of current projects under way and in development; sustainability goals; diversity; innovation; and reputation in the industry.

Past winners include Dallas Area Rapid Transit in 2013, DFW International Airport in 2012 and the Army Corp of Engineers in 2011.

TxDOT has been making major strides in the past few years in improving and expanding Texas' highway infrastructure. Two of the projects on this year’s top starts list are TxDOT’s, including the $1.4 billion IH-35E Managed Lanes Project and the $1 billion SH 99 Grand Parkway Expansion.

The agency has been a major user of PPPs – right now, nine such projects are under construction, one is in O&M and seven are in procurement. Those under construction include IH 35E Managed Lanes and SH 99 Grand Parkway projects, as well as the $1.3 billion DFW Connector and the $3 billion LBJ Managed Lanes projects. Those projects under procurement include the $141 million SH 71 Express and the $120 million Loop 1604 Western Extension.

To date, TxDOT has $11.4 billion in work under contract across the state.

All of this is happening despite major budget concerns. TxDOT has been implementing a rigorous cost-savings program, which includes privatizing IT services, saving $30 million a year; reducing its fleet from 16,000 vehicles to 10,000, saving $50 million; and switching from traditional motor oil to synthetic motor oil, saving $1.4 million a year.

Beyond the roadways themselves, TxDOT also reaches out to local communities. The agency is offering free, year-round child safety seat inspections conducted by certified technicians at each of TxDOT’s 25 district offices, and TxDOT has also partnered with three universities to test a new Facebook-integrated app designed to help students plan ahead for a sober ride home.

Check out more about TxDOT in the April 14 issue of ENR Texas & Louisiana!