TX awards $1.25B design-build contract for Houston tollway
- The Texas Transportation Commission (TCC) selected a design-build contractor for the next $1.25 billion stretch of a Houston-area parkway this week, according to the Houston Chronicle.
- Grand Parkway Infrastructure, a joint venture between Ferrovial Agroman US, Granite Construction and Webber, will design and build the 44-mile tollway extension, which will include two toll lanes and passing sections.
- Once complete, the toll road will cost commuters who travel the entire length $10.17. Despite complaints about "toll fatigue," the section of the Parkway that is already operational has seen significant use, with 10.1 million toll transactions in January alone.
Earlier this week, the TCC sanctioned a plan to undertake 230 state highway projects totaling nearly $9 billion, and, according to the plan, Houston would see an additional $3 billion of that work. However, that initiative could be stymied if state legislators pull back on critical funding or if direct financing from the federal government falls through.
President Donald Trump's 2018 budget proposal would see the elimination of some popular infrastructure financing programs, like TIGER grants and Federal Transit Administration capital investments. There are also questions swirling around what might be covered in the president's as-of-yet-unseen infrastructure bill.
Despite rumors that Trump would delay his infrastructure push until next year or beyond, new reports claim that he could try to expedite a bill alongside his tax reform initiative as a way of regaining some lost ground after the Republicans' healthcare bill failed to reach a vote.
Regardless of how Trump's infrastructure program shakes out, the Highway Trust Fund is still in desperate need of more cash so that it can allocate project funds to the states. The HTF hasn't kept pace with need and relies on a 25-year-old gas tax of 18.4 cents. Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, R-OR, has introduced a bill that would increase the tax by a penny per year, providing an estimated $17 billion annually to the HTF.
- Houston Chronicle Texas officials advance next sections of Grand Parkway
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