Friday, June 29, 2007

Texas Department of Transportation: State approves local recommendation on SH 121

Texas Department of Transportation - June 28, 2007
AUSTIN — The Texas Transportation Commission today approved a recommendation from
North Texas leaders to accelerate improvements to SH 121 and 30 other congestion-relieving
projects throughout North Texas by pursuing a proposal from the North Texas Tollway Authority
The Transportation Commission authorized the Texas Department of Transportation staff to
enter into a project agreement with NTTA once:
• the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) negotiates with the NTTA on major terms of
the project agreement and submits those terms to TxDOT,
• quantification of public benefits anticipated to be derived from the NTTA’s proposal is
agreed to by the RTC; and
• NTTA is able to close on all financial transactions necessary to meet its obligations
concurrently with or no later than 45 days after the execution and delivery of the project
Major terms remaining to be negotiated between the RTC and NTTA include:
• the timing and amount of the annual payments;
• enforcement provisions regarding compliance with the toll rate policy, project schedule,
payment obligations and other commitments; and
• the length of the agreement.
Prior to approving the RTC recommendation, the commission concluded it helps the state
meet its transportation goals to reduce congestion, enhance safety, expand economic
opportunity, improve air quality and increase the value of transportation assets.
The action also supports commission strategies to empower local leaders to solve local
transportation problems and increase competition to drive down costs.


Sen. Robert Nichols concerning TxDOT's decision to give NTTA 60 days to finalize a contract for the State Highway 121 project:

"The commissioners did the right thing by honoring their commitment to local control. By giving the local tolling authority a fair chance to pursue this project, the transportation commission secured the best deal for Texas drivers."

Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) is a former commissioner for the Texas Department of Transportation and sits on the Senate Committee on Transportation & Homeland Security.

Senator John Carona, Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security:
The Texas Transportation Commission today authorized the North Texas Tollway Authority to enter into an agreement to construct and operate State Highway 121.
Senator John Carona (R-Dallas), Chairman of the Texas Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security, expressed his support for the decision.
"Local leaders spoke decisively in recommending NTTA's proposal, and the Commission's acceptance is a great step forward for mobility in North Texas. It bodes well for participation by local entities in future projects around the state and for the
Commission's ability to implement newly passed legislation. I am confident that NTTA and RTC can work out a project agreement in a timely fashion and we can get this much- needed project under way."
The Commission also announced that funding shortages require transferring certain funds from construction to maintenance and targeting those funds to the roads in the worst condition. "This is good news/bad news for North Texas," said Carona. "We will be seeing more funding because of the bad condition of our roads as compared to the rest of the state. It is another reminder of the poor state of transportation finance in Texas and the need to have revenue alternatives."
Finally, Senator Carona added "I want to thank TxDOT and the many other state agenc ies and responders who are working to save lives in the floods. These dedicated employees are working around the clock, and we all appreciate their efforts."

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