Texas lawmakers with the Senate Committee on Transportation heard from state and local mobility experts on how to the reduce the amount of traffic within the state’s top 100 most congested roadways list.
The state’s top 100 most congested roads is a list started by TxDOT in 2009 as a way to highlight the problem areas in the state. Currently the worst congested area in the state of Texas is the stretch of IH-35 running through Austin.
"TxDOT has obligated more than $9 billion in funding to projects related to improving the top congested highways,” said Texas Department of Transportation’s Michael Williams.
But Williams said more could be done. He said they have identified $24 billion in unfunded road projects to reduce traffic congestion. Williams said most of the money they have set aside in their 10-year plan address road maintenance.
"We use approximately two-thirds of the funding to go towards preserving and maintaining existing highways throughout the state. Approximately one-third of the money is used for addressing congestion," Williams said.
State transportation experts say not enough is being done to keep this list from growing, but Michael Morris, director of transportation with the North Central Texas Council of Governments, said local planners should be allowed more flexibility from the state in fixing their region's congestion issues.
“I would hope that today is the day that we said, 'Wow. We in the legislature created a set of performance measures and hopefully we will move from here and get away from a one-size-fits-all [approach] and empower the regions to take off the chains,' ” Morris said.
Morris said a majority of the money being used on these mobility projects is from the region and there’s not enough from the state or the federal government. Some of the things regional planners are using have to do with using the shoulder of a road as an added lane during peak congestion times and broadening main stretches to include pay-as-go lanes.