The U.S. Department of Transportation has ruled that a sweeping, $136 billion transportation plan for North Texas complies with federal air quality regulations, allowing current and future transportation projects to proceed.
Some of the green-lighted projects include the Cotton Belt rail corridor, State Highway 199, LBJ East, and the Southeast Connector, a $1.2 billion three-freeway interchange in southern Tarrant County (Interstate Highway 20, IH 820 and U.S. Highway 287).
The US Highway 380 corridor will also be studied to determine the best way to accommodate east-west travel in fast-growing Collin and Denton counties.
The Cotton Belt is a 26-mile line that would provide direct service from Plano to the DFW International Airport. Plans now call for construction on the long-awaited project to start next year and operation to begin by late 2022.
Mobility 2045: The Metropolitan Transportation Plan for North Central Texas contains $136.4 billion in transportation improvements to be made over the next 20-plus years. The Regional Transportation Council approved the plan in June 2018. The plan allocates $17.5 billion more expenditures than Mobility 2040, which the new plan replaces.
The 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program may also proceed, according to the Department of Transportation. The TIP is a multiyear list of projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth area approved for federal, state and local funding. The program identifies roadway and transit projects programed for construction within the next four years.
As the metropolitan planning organization for the 12-county Dallas-Fort Worth area, the RTC develops and implements transportation projects, policies and programs designed to improve mobility and air quality.
The region's long- and short-range transportation plans must comply with federal air quality regulations because 10 Dallas-Fort Worth area counties – Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise – are in non-attainment for ozone pollution.
Mobility 2045 takes a multi-modal approach to planning transportation projects and maintaining existing infrastructure to serve the fast-growing North Texas population.
Here’s a breakdown of planned improvements:
Freeways, tollways, arterials and HOV/managed lanes: $53.6 billion
Infrastructure maintenance: $36.8 billion
Rail and bus: $33.3 billion
Management and operations: $9.5 billion
Growth, development and land-use strategies: $3.2 billion