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For Immediate Release                                            Contact: Carolyn Bonifas Kelly 703-801-9212 (cell)
Thursday, April 16, 2015                                                                     Frank Moretti 202-262-0714 (cell)
Report available at: www.tripnet.org                            



Houston, Texas – Transportation improvements are needed to address deficient, crowded or congested roads, highways and bridges in Texas that threaten to stifle the state’s economic growth and development. This is according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

The report, Texas’ Most Critical Highway Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life,” identifies the 100 highway improvements most needed to support economic growth and quality of life in Texas, ranked in order as determined by TRIP. These improvements include projects to build, expand or modernize highways or bridges throughout the state in order to accommodate projected job growth and population increases.  Making these needed transportation improvements would enhance Texas’ economic development, support a high quality of life, and accommodate projected future growth in population and economic activity. Texas led the nation in job creation in each of the last five years, and the state is expected to add 3.5 million residents in the next 20 years. Completion of these projects would increase mobility and freight movement, ease congestion, improve safety, and ensure Texas remains an attractive place to live, visit and do business. A lack of adequate transportation funding is the constraining factor in developing and delivering these needed improvements.

The 10 most needed transportation improvements to support economic growth in the Houston area are detailed below. The TRIP report identifies the 20 most needed improvements in the Houston area, as well as needed improvements in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, San Antonio and other locations in Texas. Additional information about each project can be found in the report.

TRIP identified and evaluated each project based on the following criteria: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and, the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.

"The Houston region's highway system can be compared to a circulatory system- without proper maintenance and care, the businesses and industries that rely on it cannot and will not function properly,” said Andrea French, executive director of the Transportation Advocacy Group (TAG).  “It is a system that should connect everything and everyone while providing safety and reliability."

According to the TRIP report, 15 percent of Texas’ major roads are in poor condition, while 41 percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 44 percent are in good condition.

Texas’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.38 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is significantly higher than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.09. The fatality rate on Texas’ rural non-Interstate roads was 2.48 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013, nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the 1.04 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

Enhancing critical segments of Texas’ transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields.  In the long-term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness and improve quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth.  Sustaining Texas’ long-term economic growth and maintaining the state’s quality of life will require increased investment in expanding the capacity of the state’s transportation system, which will enhance business productivity and support short- and long-term job creation in the state.

“Investing in Texas’ transportation system and addressing these challenges by improving the condition and efficiency of the state’s roads, highways and bridges will be an effective step in boosting the state’s economy, enhancing quality of life and accommodating future growth,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.   

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