The public comment period for Texas Department of Transportation’s Unified Transportation Program (UTP) is now open.
The UTP is a ten-year plan that guides transportation strategies and spending within the state. Unfortunately, the plan has historically been hindered by a lack of citizen participation and questionable priorities.
Last year’s UTP received only 23 comments for an overall rate of less than one comment per one million Texans. With such little public engagement, it’s no surprise that the plan strays from its paramount goal of protecting the safety of Texans, with ten people dying every day on our roads.
This year’s UTP proposes at least $35 billion to “address congestion” over the next ten years, and only $3.3 billion in Category 8 funding for safety issues. This is wildly out of proportion with the actual annual costs of crashes ($38 billion) compared to the cost of congestion (a mere $14 billion).
We encourage you to tell the Texas Transportation Commission, our Governor, and our Legislature that you want to prioritize the lives and physical wellbeing of Texans over all other concerns in the transportation planning process, that you want concrete goals and strategies for reducing transportation deaths, and that you want our TXDOT budget to reflect its moral obligation to ending this epidemic.
You can submit online comments or print a comment form and mail it to: TXDOT, Attention: Peter Smith, P.O. Box 149217, Austin, TX 78714-9217. UTP comments must be received Monday, August 20, 4pm.
If you can make it in person to Austin, there will be a public hearing on the UTP on Tuesday, August 7, 10am in Austin at ENV Conference Room, 118 E. Riverside Dr., Austin, TX 78704.
You also can make comments in person when the Texas Transportation Commission considers the UTP on Friday, August 30, at 125 East 11th St., Austin, Texas, in the Ric Williamson Hearing Room on the first floor.