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

TxDOT Mission

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

TxDOT Goals

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

TxDOT Values

  • Trust
  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Excellence
  • Service

In this issue

  • TxDOT Intends to Fund Air Traffic Control Services
  • Transportation Commission Honors Meadows
  • Victor Vandergriff to Join Transportation Commission
  • TxDOT Podcast: Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation
  • TxDOT Cost Savings – Fleet Reduction
  • Passenger Rail Study Meetings Begin
  • Don't Mess With Texas Trash-Off Set for Saturday
  • Finding Texas Wildflowers
  • Text. Talk. Crash
  • Small Hr


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April 1, 2013

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.

TxDOT Intends to Fund Air Traffic Control Services

In an effort to ensure safety at 13 municipal airports in Texas, TxDOT intends to fund continued service of air traffic controllers when federal funding goes away as a result of across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration. Control towers throughout the country are scheduled to begin closing on April 7. This action is pending Texas Transportation Commission approval at an emergency meeting set for 9 a.m., Thursday, April 4, at 125 E. 11th Street in Austin.

"Safety is the primary reason we felt a need to take immediate action for the air travelers and business aircraft that use these airports," said Commissioner Fred Underwood. "I am proud of our leaders for taking this extraordinary measure to ensure that those relying on these municipal airports will be able to depart and arrive safely and efficiently."

Read more »

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Transportation Commission Honors Meadows

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The Texas Transportation Commission honors outgoing Commissioner William Meadows during its recent meeting in Austin. Pictured: (from left to right) Jeff Austin III, Ted Houghton, William Meadows, Fred Underwood, Jeff Moseley and TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson.

At its March 28 meeting, the Texas Transportation Commission honored Commissioner William Meadows, who is stepping down from the post he has held since 2008. Under Meadows' stewardship, TxDOT has moved forward on key transportation projects across the state, including the I-35 expansion in Central Texas, I-35E and I-35W, SH 161 and the Chisholm Trail Parkway, the North Tarrant Express project, the DFW Connector and the Dallas Horseshoe project. Commissioners also recognized his commitment to improving processes for partnering with local entities to deliver transportation initiatives.

Also during the meeting, took the following actions:

Read more »

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Victor Vandergriff to Join Transportation Commission

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Victor Vandergriff

Arlington business leader Victor Vandergriff this month becomes the newest member of the Texas Transportation Commission. Gov. Rick Perry last week appointed Vandergriff for a term to expire in February 2019. Vandergriff has served as chairman of the North Texas Tollway and as a member of the Arlington Planning and Zoning Commission. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California and a law degree from Southern Methodist University. Vandergriff will succeed William Meadows, whose term expired in February. Perry also reappointed Jeff Austin III to the commission for a term to expire in February 2019.


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TxDOT Podcast: Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation

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Ray LaHood

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, www.txdot.gov.

As the Obama presidency transitioned into a second term in January, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced his resignation. In a little more than four years, LaHood oversaw the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which poured billions of dollars into all modes of transportation across the country, and helped lead the way toward the adoption of unprecedented driver safety laws, including laws against distracted driving in 39 states. In this week's episode, we talk with LaHood about his time in office and what work he feels still needs to be done. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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TxDOT Cost Savings – Fleet Reduction

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Savings from reducing the agency's fleet will be reinvested in road maintenance.

TxDOT is poised to save $50 million annually by reducing its fleet from 16,000 to 10,000 vehicles and other equipment. The agency recently launched an initiative to identify and retire approximately 6,000 pieces of equipment — a 37-percent reduction in fleet size — in an effort to maximize utilization. In addition to the reductions, resulting decreased capital costs and preventative maintenance requirements, improved procurement and maintenance strategies will result in substantial cost savings. The savings will be reinvested in road maintenance. This is just one example of recent cost savings achievements, as TxDOT strives to be a best-in-class agency by working safely and smartly.

Read more about TxDOT cost savings achievements »

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Passenger Rail Study Meetings Begin

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TxDOT today begins a series of statewide public meetings to gather input for the Texas-Oklahoma Passenger Rail Study. The agency recently began the two-year study to examine whether a passenger rail system should be built between Brownsville and Oklahoma City. The study will explore best possible options for the development of passenger trains connecting metropolitan areas such as Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio. The $14 million study is partially funded through a $5.6 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration's High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program.

For more information, including the project map and meeting dates »


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Don't Mess With Texas Trash-Off Set for Saturday

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Make plans now to volunteer for the Don't Mess with Texas Trash-Off, set for Saturday, April 6. The annual event is the state's largest one-day cleanup and is part of a partnership between TxDOT and Keep Texas Beautiful. In 2012, more than 2,000 Trash-Off events were held across the state, featuring more than 87,000 volunteers. In all, 5,122 miles of highway were cleared of litter and debris, totaling close to seven million pounds of trash. Sign up at www.ktb.org or call 1-800-CLEAN-TX.

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Finding Texas Wildflowers

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Spring has returned to Texas, as have colorful bursts of wildflowers along state roadways. TxDOT offers a couple of great resources to help find the most vivid displays, including the "Wild & Wonderful" cover story in the April issue of Texas Highways. The magazine's latest issue features 14 pages of flower images taken by some of the state's best photographers. Also, the magazine teamed up with experts at the University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and in the field to showcase 4 wildflower drives around the state — from Utopia to Blooming Grove. Read more at the Texas Highways Twitter and Facebook pages. In addition, TxDOT's interactive wildflower map helps you find the most picturesque blooms around the state.

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Text. Talk. Crash

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With distracted driving causing thousands of crashes a year, TxDOT and its safety partners around the state urge drivers to refrain from cell phone use and texting while on the road. National Highway Safety Administration statistics show that more than 81,000 crashes in 2011 involved distraction in a vehicle, driver inattention or cell phone use, and 361 of these crashes were fatal. Overall, nearly one in four crashes in Texas involves driver distraction.

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