AUSTIN — This week, Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) was named Chairman of the Texas Senate Select Committee on Transportation Funding, Expenditures and Finance by Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.
“I am honored to receive this assignment,” said Nichols. “Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst has shown great leadership on transportation issues and I look forward to working with the members of the Legislature to find innovative ideas and solutions to the transportation funding issues that face our state.”
The select committee has been tasked with studying and reporting on the future reliability of current state transportation funding sources, alternatives that may increase available state funding for surface transportation, the use of debt financing in state transportation and finding alternative transportation funding options.
“As our state continues to grow, traffic continues to rise and our highway systems age, we must identify additional revenue to address our current and future needs and maintain the existing infrastructure to the level Texans expect and deserve,” said Nichols.
Nichols has served on the Senate Transportation Committee since 2007, and was named Chairman of the committee during the 83rd Legislature. Prior to being elected to the Texas Senate, Nichols served as a Texas Transportation Commissioner for eight years where he established a reputation for increasing efficiency without compromising quality.
Nichols was first elected to the Texas Senate in 2006.
In addition to Transportation, Nichols serves on the Senate Natural Resources, Health and Human Services, and State Affairs Committees.
He also serves as Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations and is a former Vice Chairman of the Sunset Advisory Committee. – See more at: http://www.jacksonvilleprogress.com/x1767981545/Nichols-joins-transportation-funds-committee#sthash.1CmjA59F.dpuf
In separate votes yesterday and this morning, the North Texas Tollway Authority and the Texas Transportation Commission approved an agreement to build this section as toll road, with TxDOT contributing $300 million to the project and being repaid, over time, from tolls collected by NTTA. If the project costs exceed $300 million, NTTA and the Regional Transportation Council have agreed to provide a financial “backstop” to cover the additional costs.
TxDOT’s approval this morning was a minute order, not a final agreement. The deadline for getting all the details in writing and approved by all agencies is February 28, 2014.
RTC Resolution Approving Regional Transportation Council Financial Backstop for the SH 360 Loan that was approved at the December 5, 2013, RTC meeting. The SH 360 negotiations have moved on to the North Texas Tollway Authority for its Board meeting on December 18 and the Texas Transportation Commission for its meeting on December 19.
Final Resolution SH360 signed 12-05-2013
Plans for expanding Texas 360 from south Arlington to Mansfield could take a giant step forward Thursday during a special meeting of the Regional Transportation Council.
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Memorandum of Understanding
There is a potential TxDOT/NTTA memorandum of understanding to deliver SH 360 as a public-public partnership. The initial SH 360 toll project is defined as a staged toll road extending from the end of the current expressway to Broad Street as a four-lane toll road, and a two-lane (commonly called a Super 2) from Broad Street to U.S. 287. The initial project will also include completion of the remaining frontage road at the south end of the project.
NTTA’s board approved the MOU in January 2013. The Texas Transportation Commission approved the MOU at its February meeting. The project is currently in the environmental clearance process.
The SH 360 Draft EA is under review by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
TxDot Public Notice of Public Hearing:
Construction was completed in 2012 on intersection improvements to remove a bottleneck on SH 360 at SH 180/Division Street and the Union Pacific Railroad. Currently, the region has limited funding and has not been able to identify further funding for SH 360 from I-20 to I-30, including a new I-30/SH 360 interchange.
The Texas Transportation Commission issued $12 million in Proposition 12 bonds for engineering design on SH 360 from Brown Boulevard to I-20. This allows this project to be shovel ready once construction funds are identified.
On SH 360 south of I-20 to U.S. 287 in Ellis County, the North Texas Tollway Authority has shown interest in developing SH 360 main lanes as a toll facility and conducted a public meeting in June 2010. An environmental public hearing is expected to be conducted in 2013.