July 10, 2022 - TRA Newswire -

You, as a Texas citizen, have a voice in telling the Texas Transportation Commission and the Texas Department of Transportation how you want our transportation system to be shaped in the future.

On July 26, TxDOT will hold a virtual public hearing. You can let them know how important it is for the state to have a vibrant rail system to move people and goods.

But here's what you need to know up front: You must register as a speaker no later than Friday, July 22. To do so, leave a voicemail by calling 800-687-8108 and provide your name and name spelling. The public comment period ends August 8. Citizens may also submit comments by other means and those methods are listed at the end of this story.

The vast majority of funding for the Texas Department of Transportation comes from bills passed by our state legislators and through constitutional amendments when lawmakers don't want to take responsibility for major issues. 

Non-highway funding departments, like rail, air and maritime, make up a minuscule portion of the TxDOT estimated $85 billion budget expected in the Unified Transportation Program (UTP) over the next 10-year period. The UTP guides project development and must be updated yearly, by law, and will be approved by the Texas Transportation Commission at its scheduled August 30th Austin meeting.

We have a generational chance to improve how we move people and goods in Texas thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress that makes $36 billion available over a 5-year period for rail projects.

Texas missed out on its share of $19 billion in federal funding over the last decade because we did not have a state match available for competitive federal rail grant programs. If our state lawmakers will, for the first time, allocate funding to the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund, projects that are in the state Rail Plan will be able to finally be completed. 

Your voice can make a difference.

Note that the Transportation Commission may make discretionary funding decisions up to 10% of the current biennial budget of the department. 

Unified Transportation Program (UTP)

 UTP Fact Sheet

July 26, 2022
2 p.m. CST
Virtual Public Hearing

Methods to access the Virtual Public Hearing will be posted here after the public meeting to avoid confusion.
Registered speakers will be called first. To register, please leave a voicemail at 800-687-8108 providing your name and name spelling no later than Friday, July 22, 2022.

The 2023 UTP public comment period is July 8, 2022, through 4:00 p.m. CST on August 8, 2022. You may submit comments using the following methods:

Fill out a comment form online.

You may also print a comment form or request a printed comment form at your local TxDOT district or area office and mail it to:

Texas Department of Transportation
Attention: TPP-UTP
125 E 11th Street
Austin, Texas 78701

You may e-mail your public comments to UTP-PublicComments@txdot.gov. Additionally, you may leave a voicemail comment by calling (833) 933-0446.

Please be prepared to state your city, state, and zip code. Your name and address are optional. Please speak as clearly as possible, comments are transcribed and added to the official record.

In order to be considered, comments must be received by 4:00 p.m. on August 8, 2022.