AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) was on hand Thursday morning when the Texas Transportation Commissioners, led by Chairman Bruce Bugg, voted unanimously to approve more than $2 billion in additional funding for transportation projects in the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Odessa district over the next decade.
"I have joined many others from West Texas in the fight to ensure that the Permian Basin receives its fair share of transportation dollars since the first day I took office," Landgraf said. "Today's actions demonstrate a collective realization that meeting the infrastructure needs of the Basin is in the best interest of Texas."
Every year, the Texas Transportation Commission updates and approves the Unified Transportation Program (UTP). The UTP is TxDOT’s 10-year plan that guides the development of transportation projects across the state. The 2020 UTP approved by the commission on Thursday includes over $2 billion in new projects for the Odessa TxDOT district, bringing the total amount of funding set aside for transportation projects in the district over the next 10 years to over $5 billion.
"Lives will be saved, and that is what's most important," Landgraf continued. "The projects approved for funding today will bring many of our most heavily traveled roadways up to the highest federal and state standards which will undoubtedly save countless lives while also improving mobility and reducing congestion."
A 2017 TxDOT study found that 11% of all traffic fatalities occurred in the Permian Basin despite the fact that it represents only 2% of the state's population. The region also produces billions of barrels of oil per day providing a financial windfall for the state because of taxes on oil and natural gas production. In the last five years oil and gas production tax revenue has generated over $5 billion for public education, over $5 billion for transportation and over $6 billion for the state's rainy day fund.
"I'm grateful to Chairman Bugg and the rest of the transportation commissioners for stepping up and making the decision to invest in our West Texas roads," Landgraf stated. "Now that the projects and funding have been approved it's time to get to work."