DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The state budget includes $856 million that will help build new bridges and improve roads to relieve congestion throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Area.
The money comes from general revenue and was approved by voters several years ago. Under the new plan, part of the state dollars will go toward rebuilding the Interstate 30 and Interstate 35E bridges over the Trinity River.
This is news that makes residents like Gabriel Vaughn ecstatic.
“The longest I have sat there? Oh man, probably 30 to 45 minutes, if not longer,” he said.
The state money would also go toward new ramps that connect both bridges in the canyon.
“I don’t know how else we would have been able to fund them,” said Michael Morris, lead transportation planner in North Texas. “These are projects that we would need to be replaced in the next three to five years.”
The money will also refurbish the Interstate-345 Bridge in Dallas, which is a section of I-45 between the Woodall Rogers freeway and I-30.
In Tarrant County, the money would be spent at an interchange at I-30 and the Parker County line, and for an HOV-managed lane on I-30 between State Highway 360 and the Dallas County line.
In Collin County, the money will go toward improvements on Central Expressway. In Denton County, it’ll help refurbish U-S 380.
The new transportation money wouldn’t have been available had it not been for key state lawmakers who intervened in the process.
State Sen. Florence Shapiro (R – Plano) said lawmakers spoke up because the state gave no general revenue money to North Texas for new construction in the previous legislative session.
She said the Texas Department of Transportation believed this area didn’t need it as badly as other areas in the state because of money coming in from North Texas toll roads.
“We made it very clear, those of us who are from the North Texas area, that that was a deal that was set aside separate and apart from anything that TxDOT owed to the North Texas area,” Shaprio said.
As for Gabriel Vaughn, he’s happy relief is in sight.
“I think that’s great, that’s great,” he said. “Much needed.”
While the state is giving the region $856 million, area transportation planners will pay an additional $1 billion to finish all of the projects. Elected leaders from the Regional Transportation Council will vote on the plan Thursday.