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

In this issue

  • Future Funding Opportunities Anticipated
  • TxDOT Engineer Honored at White House
  • Transportation Forum Draws Record Crowd
  • TxDOT Podcast: A Conversation with Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell
  • Transportation Commission Actions
  • TxDOT Website Redesign Survey
  • LBJ Express Helps Businesses
  • Rural Transportation Plan Public Meetings
  • New Faces at TxDOT
  • Campaign Urges Teen Seat Belt Use
  • I-35 Traveler Survey
  • Small Hr


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TxDOT Mission

Work with others to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas.

TxDOT Values

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TxDOT Goals

  • Maintain a safe system
  • Address congestion
  • Connect Texas communities
  • Relieve congestion
  • Best in class state agency

February 27, 2012

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


Future Funding Opportunities Anticipated

TxDOT is planning to leverage as much as an additional $2 billion over the next two years to facilitate construction on some of the state's high priority projects. The additional funding will come from more efficient and effective ways of managing tax dollars and an anticipation of future federal funding.

Read more »

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TxDOT Engineer Honored at White House

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(From left to right) U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; Paulson Chaco, director of the Navajo Division of Transportation; Henry Perahia, chief bridge engineer of the New York City Department of Transportation; and Sam Swan, project manager for the DFW Connector, at the White House ceremony honoring Champions of Change.

Sam Swan, DFW Connector project manager, was recently honored by the White House as a "Champion of Change" for his work in fostering innovations on the $1.1 billion project. Swan, a 28-year TxDOT veteran, and 10 others were recognized under the Champions of Change program, which each week highlights local leaders from different sectors who bring about change in their communities. The ceremony on Feb. 15 recognized people whose work has improved the nation's infrastructure.

"These American heroes are creating jobs today by investing in tomorrow – putting men and women back to work rebuilding America's infrastructure," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We appreciate their extraordinary efforts to connect people who need their jobs back with the jobs that our communities and economy need done."

The Dallas project, a partnership between TxDOT and NorthGate Constructors, is 60 percent complete and several months ahead of schedule due in part to field and technology innovations. With $260 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, the DFW Connector is the single largest ARRA highway investment. Construction began in early 2010 and is slated for completion in 2014.

Watch the White House ceremony »

Read more about the DFW Connector »

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Transportation Forum Draws Record Crowd

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The 7th Annual Texas Transportation Forum, held Feb. 15-17 in San Antonio, scored a record attendance of roughly 1,300 policymakers, business, finance and transportation professionals to discuss ways to address the state's transportation challenges. TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and state Rep. Drew Darby were among prominent speakers at the annual event hosted by TxDOT, Texas Good Roads Transportation Association, Associated General Contractors of Texas, and Texas Transportation Institute. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn spoke via videotape.

"It's easy to get people excited about transportation challenges, but it's much less common to see record attendance at an event dedicated to transportation solutions," Wilson said. "The growth of the 2012 Transportation Forum shows just how serious Texas communities are about taking action to advance mobility in our state."

Also at the Forum, five individuals who have given their time, energy and vision to help improve the Texas transportation system were recognized with the prestigious Road Hand Award. Former State Highway Engineer Luther DeBerry created the award in 1973 as the highest tribute to public-spirited citizens who promote transportation projects in their communities. The newest recipients are Montgomery County Commissioner Ed Chance, Temple Mayor Bill Jones, Deep East Texas Council of Governments Executive Director Walter Diggles, Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief and late Center Mayor John Windham.

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TxDOT Podcast: A Conversation with Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell

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Former PA Gov. Ed Rendell

The weekly TxDOT Podcast keeps you updated on the latest transportation news and issues, and new episodes are published every Friday on the TxDOT website,

In this week's episode, we spoke with former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell at the 7th Annual Texas Transportation Forum about his mission to modernize the nation's infrastructure; everything from sewers to highways to air traffic control. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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Transportation Commission Actions

The Texas Transportation Commission convened for its regular month meeting on Feb. 23 and took the following actions:

The Commission also heard staff updates on the recent receipt of qualification submittals from teams interested in entering a design-build contract or concession agreement for the Grand Parkway (SH 99) project and immediate infrastructure needs in the Barnett and Eagle Ford Shale drilling areas.

Read more »

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TxDOT Website Redesign Survey

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We're redesigning our website and need your input to make it more user-friendly. Take our short online survey to help us determine what information you want and when you need it. Your responses will help us improve your experience at

Take the survey »

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LBJ Express Helps Businesses

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Developers of the LBJ Express recently launched a consumer loyalty program to retain and boost business for retailers, restaurants and professional offices located along the 17-mile project to rebuild I-35E and I-635 in Dallas.

The LBJ Express Marketplace supports businesses in the heavy construction area through an online directory of participating businesses and the distribution of loyalty key tags that customers may show for special discounts. Construction began last year and is expected to be completed in 2015.

Sign up and learn about the Marketplace »

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Rural Transportation Plan Public Meetings

TxDOT is developing the Texas Rural Transportation Plan (TRTP) to identify transportation needs for all travel modes throughout rural Texas over the next 25 years. To ensure the TRTP is the best plan possible and reflects the future transportation needs of rural Texas, we need your participation and input in its development. Open-house style public meetings on preliminary research for the plan will be conducted across the state during the first week of March. For more information on the TRP, call (855) 897-8725 or view online.

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New Faces at TxDOT

TxDOT administration has announced some new leadership appointments in recent weeks. Marc Williams, P.E., is the new director of planning. Williams has held management positions in both the private and public sectors, most recently leading the citizen-driven planning effort for I-69 Texas.

Dr. Yvonne Howze is the new director of organizational effectiveness. Howze previously directed operations for the Center for Health Statistics and the Vital Statistics Unit at the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Jerry Haddican is the new senior state legislative representative in the Government Relations Division. Haddican was director of state relations for the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and served as general counsel to State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa.

Don McGrew heads up the newly formed Information Technology (IT) Project Management Office. McGrew previously managed the Enterprise IT Project Office for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and was with Texas Instruments for 17 years.

Tracy Cain, P.E., is the new San Angelo District Engineer. Cain has served as director of transportation planning and development for the Amarillo District and Wellington area engineer in the Childress District.

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Campaign Urges Teen Seat Belt Use

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TxDOT is reaching out to more than 750,000 students, age 16-20, with the important message that using a safety belt can save their lives. Partnering with more than 700 high schools and community colleges statewide, the agency recently kicked off its annual "Teen Click It or Ticket" campaign, calling on teens to love their lives and buckle up. Teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. In Texas, the use of seat belts saved an estimated 1,425 lives in 2010.

"A few seconds – that's all it takes to buckle up. In that same amount of time, you can lose your life in an accident because you weren't wearing your seat belt," said Carol T. Rawson, TxDOT's Traffic Operations Division director. "TxDOT is committed to educating teens about the deadly effects of not wearing a seat belt, and this campaign says to every teen: ‘If you love your life, buckle up.'"

Teens are invited to share their stories, win prizes and learn more about the importance of wearing their seatbelts at:

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I-35 Traveler Survey

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The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) is conducting an online survey of I-35 travelers to determine what information they like to receive about travel conditions, planning efforts and construction activities, how frequently they want that information and how they'd like to receive it.

The survey results will help TxDOT and TTI determine how best to communicate with I-35 users about potential traffic headaches during the five-year construction project in Central Texas. The project, which is under way, will widen nearly 100-miles of interstate between Hillsboro and Salado from two to three lanes. The survey is anonymous. Participants must be at least 18.

Take the survey »


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