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Texas Transportation Commission approves 2020 UTP - Odessa American: News

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Texas Transportation Commission approves 2020 UTP

Plan provides more than $2 B in funding to Permian Basin roads over next decade

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Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2019 12:40 pm

The Texas Transportation Commission unanimously approved a statewide transportation plan today that will provide more than $2 billion in additional funding to transportation projects in the Odessa region over the next decade.

The 2020 Unified Transportation Program proposes more than $76 billion toward Texas roadways over the next 10 years, with more than $2 billion specifically being given to the Texas Department of Transportation’s Odessa district, bringing the total amount of funding set aside to district projects over the next decade to more than $5 billion.

Included in that plan is an additional $600 million in strategic state funding over the next two years directed toward making road improvements in the Permian Basin. Permian Strategic Partnership and other entities have been working for more than a year to highlight the need for improved roads in the region.

“The terrible reality is that our region is averaging almost one fatality per day on Permian region roads,” Permian Strategic Partnership Chairman Don Evans said in a statement. “This investment will save lives on roads that have been overwhelmed by the growth in traffic our region is experiencing as we work to deliver Permian energy to the world.”

A recent TXDOT study showed the Permian Basin had 11 percent of all traffic fatalities in Texas in 2017, while representing only 2 percent of the state’s population.

The UTP is updated and approved every year by the Texas Transportation Commission, a 10-year plan to guide the development of transportation projects across Texas. The $2.2 billion allocated to Odessa is the largest sum ever awarded to the district.

State Rep. Brooks Landgraf, R-Odessa, said today’s actions demonstrate a collective realization that meeting the infrastructure needs of the Permian Basin is in the best interest of Texas.

“Lives will be saved, and that is what’s most important,” Landgraf said in a statement. “The projects approved for funding today will bring many of our most heavily traveled roadways up to the highest federal and state standards which will undoubtedly save countless lives while also improving mobility and reducing congestion.”

The funds approved today will go toward road projects in the Permian Basin, including widening roads to four-lane divided highways, grade separations, widening shoulders and adding acceleration and deceleration lanes.

Scott Scheffler, executive director of the Permian Road Safety Coalition, was also in attendance and stressed the need for this funding.

“We need now more than ever to approve this 2020 UTP today to keep the focus on engineering solutions for safety," Scheffler told commission members.


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