AUSTIN – The Texas Transportation Commission today approved the 2017 Unified Transportation Program (UTP) with $70 billion to help TxDOT meet the state’s growing transportation demands. The plan is the largest of its kind in the agency’s history and will address capacity, maintenance and safety needs around the state.

A 10-year plan is a critical tool in guiding transportation project development within the long-term planning context, according to TxDOT officials.

"The actions today by the Texas Transportation Commission represent a historic investment in our state’s infrastructure,” Governor Greg Abbott said. “Texans have sent a loud and clear message that they are tired of sitting in traffic, and this funding plan will significantly address safety, maintenance, connectivity and congestion on our crowded highways. The plan presented by the commission will allow Texas roads to keep pace with our population growth, provide much-needed congestion relief for working Texans and put the Lone Star State well on its way towards having a first-in-class highway system for decades to come.”

The program will also serve as a discussion tool as TxDOT works with local transportation planning organizations, public officials and the general public in determining the final selection and funding of projects, the TxDOT release states.

"It is also developed with extensive public input, targets congestion in the state’s most-populated areas and includes projects to connect the major interstates better in rural areas with local roads and highways," said Val Lopez, TxDOT Fort Worth. " Also outside urban areas, the program calls for enhancing and completing interstate highways, and addressing the continuing needs within the energy sector and along hurricane evacuation routes."

“The Unified Transportation Program reflects TxDOT’s commitment to planning for and meeting the mobility needs of our fast-growing state,” Transportation Commission Chairman Tryon Lewis said.

With more than $70 billion in total funding, the 2017 UTP represents a significant increase from last year’s 10-year plan, which included more than $33 billion worth of projects. The bulk of the additional funding will come from legislative- and voter-approved initiatives to allocate portions of oil and gas taxes, sales taxes and other taxes to the state highway fund. Ending the practice of appropriating state highway funds to agencies other than TxDOT and the passage of long-term federal transportation legislation also contributed to the additional funding.

"Over the coming months, TxDOT and local communities will work together to identify and select projects using this additional funding," Lopez added.

The new financing in the 2017 UTP is primarily allocated to program areas that address safety, maintenance, congestion and rural connectivity needs. It includes funding for all 25 TxDOT districts and 25 metropolitan planning areas throughout the state.