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The TxDOT Update
News and Information from the Texas Department of Transportation

In this issue

  • July 4 – Statewide No-Refusal Weekend
  • Transportation Commission Actions
  • Executive Director Opening Posted
  • New Port Aransas Ferries in Operation
  • Hohmann to Retire
  • Design a Litter Bag Contest Finalists
  • Retirement Dinner for Saenz, Simmons and Whitworth
  • Statewide Podcasts
  • Small Hr


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TxDOT Goals

  1. Prepare for the future
  2. Enhance safety
  3. Maintain the transportation system
  4. Relieve congestion
  5. Enhance connectivity
  6. Work with our partners to
    identify funding strategies

July 1, 2011

Editor's Note: Monday, July 4 is Independence Day, so you are receiving the TxDOT Update early. TxDOT wishes you a Happy Fourth of July and reminds you to drive safely this holiday weekend.

Here's our roundup of Texas Department of Transportation news and events. If you have any questions, comments or just want to know more about something you read here, send a message to AskTxDOT@txdot.gov.


July 4 – Statewide No-Refusal Weekend

Today, Texas becomes the first state in the country to institute a statewide no-refusal campaign for the July 4 holiday weekend, which has repeatedly ranked as the deadliest holiday of the year for alcohol-related crashes. More than 200 law enforcement agencies across the state will seek warrants to draw blood from any driver suspected of drinking who refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test. The crackdown begins at 6 p.m. today and ends at 6 a.m., Tuesday, July 5.

TxDOT recently produced a video called "This is the guy that refused…" to educate drivers about what happens if they decide to get behind the wheel after they've been drinking during a no-refusal weekend and get pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving and decline testing.

View the video »


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Transportation Commission Actions

The Texas Transportation Commission convened June 30 for its monthly meeting and took the following actions:

  • Awarded approximately $63 million in state and federal grants, and approximately $2.9 million transportation development credits to support public transportation in Texas.
  • Authorized acceptance of a $15 million federal grant from the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program for preliminary engineering and environmental studies for high-speed rail services between Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston.

The Commission also received staff updates on the agency's modernization efforts and transportation-related bills adopted by the 82nd Texas Legislature and discussed selection criteria for projects to be funded with Proposition 12 bond proceeds.

Read more »

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Executive Director Opening Posted

The Commission has selected Grant Cooper & Associates, an executive search firm based in St. Louis, Mo., to conduct a national search for the next TxDOT Executive Director. The job posting became official last week. The firm has many years of expertise and will utilize all of their resources to present a list of top candidates to the Commission for further consideration. All interested parties are encouraged to contact Grant Cooper. Following interviews, the Commission will determine who will succeed Executive Director Amadeo Saenz, who will retire Aug. 31. If a successor is not on board by Aug. 31, the Commission will appoint an interim executive director.

Read more »

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New Port Aransas Ferries in Operation

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Port Aransas Ferry Operations Manager Howard Gillespie (left) presents commemorative photographs to Michael Behrens and Charles Heald.

Two new TxDOT ferries in Port Aransas went into service today. The Michael W. Behrens and Charles W. Heald, both named in honor of former TxDOT executive directors, were officially dedicated to the Port Aransas Ferry System last week. They are the first new ferries to join the Port Aransas fleet since 2000. The new vessels can carry as many as 28 passenger vehicles or up to 150 individual passengers. Both Behrens and Heald participated in the dedication ceremony.


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  Hohmann to Retire


TxDOT Bridge Division Director David Hohmann, P.E., recently announced his retirement, effective Aug. 31, 2011. Hohmann has spent his entire 29-year career in the Bridge Division. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 1982, he began his TxDOT career as an engineering assistant. He became a design branch manager in 1991 and director of the Bridge Design Section in 2001 and division director in 2009.


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Design a Litter Bag Contest Finalists

The top 10 Don't Mess with Texas 25th Anniversary litterbag designs have been chosen. Take a look and let us know what you think by ranking each design. All comments and rankings must be submitted by July 8. The winning design will be announced on July 12 and printed on 200,000 limited-edition litterbags. May the best litterbag win!

Rank the finalists »

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Retirement Dinner for Saenz, Simmons and Whitworth

Make plans now to attend TxDOT's goodbye dinner honoring Executive Director Amadeo Saenz, Deputy Executive Director Steve Simmons and Chief Auditing Officer Owen Whitworth – all who will retire Aug. 31. The barbecue dinner for the longtime administrators take place on Aug. 17, 5:30-9:30 p.m., at the Texas Exposition Center, 7311 Decker Lane in Austin. Tickets are $25 a person.

For more information »


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Statewide Podcasts

TxDOT produces a weekly Statewide Podcast to keep you updated on the latest transportation news and issues, and new podcast episodes are published every Friday on the TxDOT website, www.txdot.gov.

In this week's episode, we talk with Sonta Henderson, a government affairs and community relations specialist for AAA-Texas, about the group's 100 Deadliest Days of Summer campaign. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Note: Be sure to tune into our July 8 episode, when we talk with former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta about the state of national transportation funding and the need for a new federal transportation reauthorization bill.

Listen to Podcast »

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