October 24, 2023 - TRA Newswire -

The officials on the Texas Transportation Commission and the Texas Department of Transportation aren't hearing from you.

Do you want to advance passenger and freight rail projects in the next 25 years or are you content to just build more highways? You can stay silent about needed rail projects and let highways, airports and waterways get the lions share of future state and federal funding.

TxDOT is planning for the future with a program called Connecting Texas 2050, and public input is crucial as the agency looks to prioritize transportation needs into the mid-21st century. 

TXDOT continues to stress more highways, wider highways and unless you speak out we will continue to see asphalt and concrete as the only way Texans will travel in the decades to come. It's that simple.

The transportation agency and the governing commission are still light years behind other states and to date have no forward-looking vision for passenger and freight rail. 

Here's what you can do to create that vision:

TxDOT is hosting a statewide virtual public meeting with in-person open houses this fall for Connecting Texas 2050, the latest update to TxDOT’s statewide long-range transportation plan. Participants can share their vision for Texas’ transportation needs over the next 25 years and beyond and tell TxDOT how to shape the transportation system of tomorrow.

During previous Connecting Texas 2050 public meetings, held in spring 2023, Texans shared a variety of ways that improvements to the state’s transportation system could support a better quality of life down the road. This fall the agency will share potential strategies that could be implemented between now and 2050 to meet this need.

Here are a few top priorities from previous meetings:

  • Safety / Maintenance / Enhancing quality of life for all Texas residents

Alternative modes of travel and public transportation options - this is the segment where we need to be loud and proud and tell TxDOT to stop ignoring passenger and freight rail needs and develop a long-term vision like other states have done. Texas continues to miss out on federal rail funding because we have no state match for competitive federal programs programs. We've left billions of dollars on the table. 

Tell TxDOT what's important to you. 

  • Do you want passenger rail service from one Texas city to another, of from Texas to another state
  • Are you a shipper and want improvements in freight service
  • Do you have blocked rail crossings and could use an overpass or underpass to speed traffic
  • Would high-speed rail between our Texas cities be beneficial to you
  • Is your city underserved by passenger rail and why is it important to you
  • Are you tired of highway traffic gridlock or roads blocked by accidents
  • Tell your story

The statewide virtual public meeting will be available on www.ConnectingTexas2050.com through Dec. 15, 2023. TxDOT will also host in-person open houses in various locations. For a full schedule, visit TxDOT online at www.ConnectingTexas2050.com. The same information will be available at the virtual public meeting and in-person open houses.

An interactive survey can be completed at in-person open houses and online. To learn more about how to provide a comment and how to request special accommodations for meetings, visit txdot.gov and search “Connecting Texas 2050.”

Meetings of the Texas Transportation Commission are held at the Dewitt C. Greer Building, 125 E. 11th St., Austin, Texas, in the Ric Williamson Hearing Room on the first floor. Meetings are scheduled for October 26, November 16 and December 12.

Photo credit: TxDOT