The Regional Transportation Council on Thursday approved a resolution that is expected to move the LBJ East project forward. The resolution asks the Texas Transportation Commission to proceed to procurement of the 11-mile project, which runs from US Highway 75 to Interstate Highway 30.
The RTC and the State worked cooperatively over the past several weeks to close a $1 billion funding gap with a transparent process that relies on existing tax dollars to fund the project. State officials have agreed to grandfather LBJ East’s two existing tolled managed lanes, paving the way for a corridor expansion that will include additional tax-supported lanes and continuous frontage roads and the same number of tolled managed lanes that currently exist. There are no Proposition 1 or 7 funds in the project. High-occupancy vehicle lanes were added to the corridor in 2008 and expanded to tolled managed lanes in 2016 to allow single-occupant vehicles to pay a toll to use them. Both improvements were made to enhance mobility in the corridor and boost air quality in a region that is in nonattainment for ozone pollution. These improvements were paid for using federal funds from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program. Rob Franke, chair of the Regional Transportation Council, said the progress was made because State and local officials were willing to take the time to cooperate in order to find a solution that works for all parties involved. “Today, we celebrate one of the most significant transportation accomplishments in decades for the residents of Dallas-Fort Worth.” Franke said. “LBJ East is important not just for the thousands of drivers who use it every day, but for people all over the region. I would like to thank Chairman J. Bruce Bugg Jr. for his willingness to grandfather the existing managed lanes.”The five-member Texas Transportation Commission is due to consider a proposal May 24 to authorize the Texas Department of Transportation to issue a request for qualifications seeking firms interested in the $1.6 billion project. The corridor runs through Dallas, Garland and Mesquite. The project also includes the intersection of Skillman Street and Audelia Road, which would be transformed into a safer, more modern interchange. Additionally, the Interstate Highway 30 interchange would be rebuilt as part of the project. Councilman Lee Kleinman, chair of the Dallas City Council’s Mobility Solutions, Infrastructure and Sustainability Committee, said this decision was made possible by cooperation of local and State officials, who worked toward a solution that will provide residents in the corridor more reliable commutes. “I applaud the commitment of Chair Bugg, the collaboration and support of the Office of the Governor, the mayors of both Garland and Mesquite, and my fellow elected officials on the Regional Transportation Council,” Kleinman said. “We have been working on this missing gap of IH 635 for some time.”