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

In this issue

  • Commission Meeting of Firsts
  • Transportation Commission Actions
  • Casteel, Quintanilla Retire
  • Obr named Construction Division Director
  • Rural Transportation Planning
  • 2012 Transportation Forum Set For San Antonio
  • Crash Data Reporting Streamlined
  • 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

October 31, 2011

Editor's Note: 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.


Commission Meeting of Firsts

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Commissioner Jeff Austin III

Tyler banker Jeff Austin III last week was sworn in as the newest member of the Texas Transportation Commission and participated in his first Commission meeting on Oct. 27. The meeting was also the first for new TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson and for new Commission Chairman Ted Houghton. Gov. Rick Perry recently appointed Austin to succeed Deirdre Delisi, who resigned earlier this month, and named Houghton chairman.

Austin is vice chairman of Austin Bank. He is a board member of the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, past presiding officer of the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority and past board chair of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce. Wilson assumed his new duties leading the agency on Oct. 17.

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Transportation Commission Actions

The Texas Transportation Commission took the following actions during its meeting on Oct. 27:

  • Designated a segment of US 77 from I-37 in Corpus Christi to SH 44 in Robstown as I-69.
  • Authorized issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the development, design, construction and, potentially, maintenance of the Horseshoe Project in Dallas County, providing for the replacement and addition of bridges and lanes on I-35E and I-30 at the Trinity River. A notice of the RFQ will be published in the Texas Register.
  • Awarded federal and state grant funding for airport improvement projects at various locations.
  • The Commission also received an update on the activities and recommendations of the I-35 Advisory Committee.

Read more »

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Casteel, Quintanilla Retire

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David Casteel
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Albert Quintanilla

Two TxDOT veterans, Assistant Executive Director of Field and District Operations David Casteel, P.E., and Laredo District Engineer Albert Quintanilla, P.E., retire today. Casteel began his 28-year TxDOT career as a summer hire in the Wichita Falls District and went on to serve as district engineer for the Childress, Corpus Christi and San Antonio districts. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from Texas A&M University and is a graduate of the Governor's Executive Development Program at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Quintanilla has been with the department for more than 26 years. After earning a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Texas A&I University at Kingsville in 1984, he began his TxDOT career with the Houston District as an engineering assistant in the Design Section. He also served as the Laredo District's director of maintenance and deputy district engineer, before being named district engineer in 2009.

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Obr named Construction Division Director

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John Obr

John Obr, P.E., has been named director of TxDOT's Construction Division, effective Nov. 1. A 24-year TxDOT veteran, Obr has been the San Angelo District Engineer since 2010. He also has served as the director of construction for the Beaumont District and as Gatesville Area Engineer for the Waco District. He holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University

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Rural Transportation Planning

TxDOT is working on a rural update to the Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan and will soon seek public input to complete this vital component. The Texas Rural Transportation Plan (TRTP) will include a needs assessment through 2035 for all modes of the state's rural transportation system, including highways, rail, water ports, airports, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, pipelines and Intelligent Transportation Systems. Public meetings on the proposed TRTP will be held around the state in February 2012. The plan is expected to be slated for a public hearing and consideration by the Texas Transportation Commission in spring 2012.

Read more »

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2012 Transportation Forum Set For San Antonio

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Registration is now open for the 7th Annual Texas Transportation Forum, set for Feb. 15-17 at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio. The theme for the 2012 Forum is "We're Going Places!" The annual event assembles local, regional and state leaders with national experts to discuss timely transportation issues.

Engineers attending the Forum can earn Professional Development Hours. Find out more here.

Register before Dec. 15, 2011, and receive a discounted registration rate. The Grand Hyatt Hotel is also offering discounted rates to those who reserve their rooms before Nov. 17, 2011. We hope to see you in San Antonio in 2012!

Register now »

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Crash Data Reporting Streamlined

TxDOT recently launched the Crash Reporting and Analysis for Safer Highways internet application to expedite the transfer of motor vehicle crash data from law enforcement agencies to the Crash Records Information System, an automated database used to compile and track crash data statewide. The new system allows agencies to submit crash data electronically, which lowers processing costs and saves taxpayer dollars.

Read more »

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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 TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson about his new role and his vision for the agency. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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All inquiries may be directed to AskTxDOT@txdot.gov.