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Local Motion - photos of the TRE, traffic in the IH 30 managed/HOV lane, Fort Worth, airplane

   

January 2017

RTC approves $6.9 billion in transportation projects
The is the FlyBy DFW gaming app logo
Photo- Getty Images


The Regional Transportation Council in December approved a 10-year plan of projects for the 12-county area worth $6.9 billion. The allotment includes Category 2 funds, which have not been allocated to the region since 2004. These funds are used to implement mobility and capacity projects in the region. Projects were evaluated and selected using a series of performance metrics and grouped into the following categories:· 

  • Previously unfunded commitments or existing facilities needing the next phase of funding

  • New freeway projects

  •  New arterials on the state highway system

  • The eastern side of the region will receive about $4.6 billion, while the west will get $2.3 billion.

Each county is projected to receive funding based on its forecast congestion level in 2040. Dallas County is in line to get $2.5 billion. Tarrant County will receive $2.1 billion. In the east, US Highway 380, a new north-south arterial in Collin County and Interstate Highway 35E, Phase 2 are among the major projects. In the west, IH 20 (between IH 820 and US 287), IH 820 (between Meadowbrook Drive and US 287) and SH 199 are among the largest projects.

The 10-year plan was required by House Bill 20, which also mandates the state and metropolitan planning organizations use performance-based planning and project selection, and develop criteria to consider congestion, safety, economic development, available funding, air quality and socioeconomic effects. The final list was
submitted to the Texas Department of Transportation in accordance with HB 20 requirements.

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By the Numbers:
$6.9 Billion

The dollar investment value of projects selected by the RTC as part of its 10-year plan.

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FWTA receives $499M grant for TEX Rail line

The Fort Worth Transportation Authority received a $499 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration in December, giving full funding to the 27-mile TEX Rail commuter line between Fort Worth and DFW International Airport. The $1.034 billion project, which will also serve North Richland Hills and Grapevine, is expected to be complete in 2018. For more information, visit www.texrail.com.


RTC sets its priorities for 84th Legislature
This is the Regional Transportation Council logo which links to the home page at  http:www.nctcog.org/trans/committees/rtc/index.asp

With lawmakers preparing to return to Austin for the 85th Legislature, the Regional Transportation Council has approved a Legislative Program that aims to continue recent improvements in transportation and air quality, invest in further progress to meet the region's needs and provide support for additional transportation topics that may be addressed.

The Texas Legislature has taken steps over the past four years to fund transportation and, as a result, new sources of revenue are available across Texas and the region. Proposition 1, Proposition 7 and the end to diversions of the state's gas tax to non-transportation purposes will each provide the state with more transportation revenue.

In addition, after years of limited funding, the Legislature reinstated funds for the AirCheckTexas Program and Local Initiative Projects (LIP). The RTC supports the progress made during recent legislative sessions, specifically the continued full appropriation of these revenues to fund transportation and air quality programs.

Retaining the ability to use tolling, managed lanes, debt financing and public-private partnerships, and allowing eminent domain authority for rail, roadways and trails are also goals of the RTC this session. Support is also offered for efforts to us performance-based transportation planning.

The RTC also seeks to invest in further progress to meet transportation and air quality needs. The RTC supports identifying additional revenue for transportation and authorizing the use of a Comprehensive Development Agreement (CDA) for the Interstate Highway 635 East project from US Highway 75 to IH 30 as methods to meet the region's transportation needs.

Additional CDA projects may be supported at a later date. Related to air quality, the RTC seeks to appropriate AirCheckTexas' residual balance of previously collected funds, as well as increase the program's flexibility to better balance demand.

The RTC will provide support for additional transportation areas that improve air quality, increase safety, relieve congestion, work to implement all modes of transportation, utilize innovative technology, support land-use and transportation connections and more. For more details on the RTC's Legislative Program, visit www.nctcog.org/trans/legislative.  


Fact of fiction: Your vehicle needs time to warm up in the winter

You have heard the idea: In winter, your car needs time to warm up before you can drive it.

In reality, idling for more than a few seconds in cold weather has no benefit at all.

According to experts, no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days is needed to warm up your car.

Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy explain that your car will actually heat up faster when being driven.

The idling myth is not only wrong, but leads to additional and avoidable costs such as wasting fuel and emitting excessive air pollutants.

Answer: Fiction.

An image of a armadillo mascot named Arlo next to a tiny car

Safe Phone Zones Announced for Rest Areas

The Texas Department of Transportation recently announced the implementation of Safe Phone Zones at 55 Safety Rest Areas and Travel Information Centers (TICs) across Texas.

The GEICO-sponsored Safe Phone Zones are part of TxDOT's Sponsor Acknowledgement Program, which seeks companies to fund various benefits for drivers – such as free Wi-Fi at Safety Rest Areas and TICs – in exchange for receiving public recognition through highway signage.

Sponsorship funds pay for free Wi-Fi service for travelers at high-traffic rest areas and TICs, while the highway signs encourage safer driving habits by reminding motorists to utilize their mobile devices only while stopped at the convenient facilities. Free Wi-Fi service is available at 22 Safety Rest Areas with more available in the coming months.

TxDOT currently has 80 Safety Rest Areas and 12 TICs placed strategically throughout the state. These facilities are essential safety features on the highway system as they allow drivers to rest and get travel information. — TxDOT


North Texas could lead in automated vehicles

A group from Texas has submitted a proposal to turn the state into a "proving ground" for automated vehicles. The submission was a response to the US Department of Transportation's request for proposals from areas seeking to become leaders in the development of the technology. Following the recent Texas Mobility Summit in Austin, transportation leaders worked together on the proposal for Texas. And North Texas is prominently featured because of three complementary test environments:

  • · The University of Texas at Arlington, a major academic institution where AVs could be tested at low speeds on campus
    · 
  • An extensive street system in Arlington for testing AVs at low to moderate speeds

  • Interstate Highway 30 between Dallas and Fort Worth, which contains a reversible, protected managed lane where AVs could be tested at highway speeds.

The summit has led to the formation of Texas Innovation Alliance, involving state, regional and local groups working together to advance transportation technology. The first order of business of the alliance was to apply to become an automated vehicle proving ground.


DFW Clean Cities recognizes leading fleets

The Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition recognized 12 local governments and agencies in December for outstanding work performed by their fleet departments. These leading fleets are setting examples by operating alternative fuel vehicles, reducing their idling and educating employees about fuel conservation.

They are also frequently exploring new ways to lessen the environmental impact in the neighborhoods where they operate. Three fleet operators received Silver designation. They were: Carrollton, Addison and Euless. The others achieved Bronze status. They were: Coppell, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Southlake, Grapevine, Flower Mound, Denton ISD, Rockwall, Richardson and Fort Worth.


Transportation Alternatives funding open

Approximately $23 million of Transportation Alternatives funding is available for active transportation and Safe Routes to School projects in the 12-county NCTCOG metropolitan planning area through a recently opened call for projects.

Approximately $15 million will be allocated to projects on the eastern side of the region, while approximately $8 million will be awarded to projects in the west.

Project awards may range from $150,000 to $5 million, and awarded projects must provide a minimum 20 percent local cash match.

The call for projects is open to local government entities responsible for oversight of transportation and trails. Eligible parties include local governments, transit agencies, school districts, local education agencies and schools.

In general, the following types of projects are eligible for funding:

  • On- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities

  • Infrastructure projects that improve non-driver access to public transportation and enhance mobility

  • Pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure related to Safe Routes to School projects aimed at improving safety and the ability of
    students to walk and bicycle to school

Applications for the call for projects will be accepted until 5 p.m. February 24. The evaluation process will include scoring by NCTCOG staff, and the recommended projects for funding awards will be reviewed at public meetings in May 2017.

The RTC is expected to select projects in June. For more information on the call for projects, visit www.nctcog.org/tap.

Read or print Local Motion as a PDF here.

Read previous newsletters here.

For more information about Local Motion topics, contact Brian Wilson at 817-704-2511 or bwilson@nctcog.org. Visit www.nctcog.org/trans for more information on the department.

Prepared in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation and the US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors who are responsible for the opinions, findings and conclusions presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration or the Texas

1/10/2017 CH

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