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Local Motion - photos of the TRE, traffic in the IH 30 managed/HOV lane, Fort Worth, airplane

January 2015

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OUR REGION

40th Anniversary RTC Logo
Funding tops RTC's priorities for 84th Legislative Session

When the Legislature reconvenes in Austin on January 13, it will have additional revenue available for transportation projects throughout the state. But more than the $1.7 billion annual boost provided by Proposition 1 is necessary to keep the fast-growing state moving. The Regional Transportation Council has approved a legislative program in pursuit of additional funding for important transportation projects while maintaining the progress made in recent years. Here are the topics to be pursued:

 

  • Identify additional transportation revenue. Proposition 1 will provide the state with a much-needed infusion of transportation funding, but the RTC and other transportation advocates will pursue additional revenue, as well. For example, shifting motor-vehicle sales tax revenues from the general fund to transportation would allow the Legislature to get even closer to closing the $5 billion gap the Texas Department of Transportation has identified without having to increase taxes. Another option is ending the diversion of the state’s gas tax to non-transportation purposes.

 

  • Retain the limited authority for TxDOT to enter into public-private partnerships. Interstate Highway 635 east of US Highway 75 is expected to be the next project completed with a comprehensive development agreement. There may also be other CDA projects that need to have their authority extended.

 

  • Support the full restoration of AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program funding and expansion of local initiative projects. The RTC will again pursue the full funding of the AirCheckTexas Program, which saw funding reduced 88 percent in 2011 as the Legislature sought to balance the budget in tough economic times. NCTCOG has scaled back the portion of the program offering qualifying motorists vouchers that can be used toward vehicle replacement. Restoration of the funding would allow the replacement program to run for more than a few weeks each year. The RTC plans to support expansion of the LIP provision to include transportation system improvements that benefit air quality.

 

  • High speed rail. Efforts are underway to connect Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston and other parts of the state by high speed rail. The RTC would support legislation necessary to move high speed rail forward.

RTC POLICYMAKERS

Updated Clean Fleet Policy approved by RTC

 

The Regional Transportation Council approved a resolution in support of the revised Clean Fleet Vehicle Policy on December 11. For the past year, NCTCOG staff and local fleet representatives have been working to update the Clean Fleet Vehicle Policy approved in 2005 to ensure it remains relevant and effective.

As funding eligibility through RTC requires adoption of the policy, all organizations with fleet operations in the 10-county ozone nonattainment area are encouraged to begin efforts to adopt the new policy as soon as possible.

More information is available at www.nctcog.org/fleetpolicy.

NCTCOG recognized for Solar Ready II

 

NCTCOG was awarded the 2014 Local Collaboration of the Year Award at the 2014 Texas Renewables Conference in November. The award recognized the Dallas-Fort Worth Solar Ready II project for its role in supporting renewable energy in Texas. 

 

Solar Ready II is part of the US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge, which strives to make this growing option cost-competitive with other forms of energy. 

By collaborating with national and regional partners, NCTCOG has engaged local governments to create improved and more standardized solar energy practices and policies throughout the region. 

 

Additional information can be found at www.nctcog.org/solar.

 

PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT

IH 30 Sign
School bus funding available Jan. 5

 

The New Year is bringing an opportunity for school bus operators in some North Texas counties to make their fleets more environmentally friendly. The North Central Texas Clean School Bus Program 2015 Call for Projects will open January 5.

This call for projects will provide approximately $1 million in grant funding to help school bus owners and operators in the 10-county ozone nonattainment area (Collin, Denton, Dallas, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise counties) reduce emissions and improve air quality by providing funds to improve or replace older diesel school buses. Applicants must adopt the Revised Clean Fleet Policy by the 5 pm March 13 application deadline to be eligible.

 

Interested parties are encouraged to complete an electronic Intent to Submit form to help staff identify potential applicants.

 

For more information, please visit www.nctcog.org/cleanschoolbus.

 

 

infographic
Fact sheet:  Modern roundabouts

Historically, intersections have been controlled with either stop signs or traffic signals. But there is a new tool being used to improve reliability on some roads in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. About 50 modern roundabouts, which slowly and steadily move traffic in a circular pattern through an intersection, have been built in recent years. More are planned.

 

The NCTCOG Transportation Department has published a new fact sheet explaining this innovative way to keep traffic moving. Part of the department’s ongoing series, this fact sheet explains the safety, mobility and environmental benefits of roundabouts and demonstrates how to use them. Read the fact sheet at www.nctcog.org/factsheets.

 

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FREIGHT CONNECTIVITY

Congestion study expected early in 2015

 

A study outlining recommendations for how to improve the efficiency of freight in North Texas is expected to be published early in 2015. A proposal made in Freight North Texas, an inventory of the region’s freight system completed in 2013, the forthcoming analysis examines congestion in four areas across the region:  Alliance, Great Southwest, Mesquite and the International Inland Port of Dallas. The recommendations range from better freight connectivity to intersection improvements and signal-timing studies. Truck-route connectivity and railroad-crossing mitigation are also examined. The four areas were selected because they are considered a microcosm of freight activity in the region.

 

Recommendations, including policies and programs, resulting from the study could be added to Mobility 2040 to help guide freight improvements in the future. The next Freight North Texas recommendation to be carried out will be a truck parking study. Staff will narrow the focus to areas of greatest concern before moving forward with the study.

 

Public comments

Comments or questions about transportation or air quality topics may be submitted at any time. Submit questions or comments online or send them to:

North Central Texas
Council of Governments
Transportation Department
P.O. Box 5888
Arlington, TX 76005-5888 

Email: transinfo@nctcog.org
Website: www.nctcog.org/trans
Fax: 817-640-3028
Phone: 817-695-9240

 

12/30/2014  CH

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