Austin's NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transportation
The Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT, oversees Texas transportation and is headquartered in Austin. The Texas Legislature created the organization in 1917, although the agency has had several names throughout the past century.TxDOT is run by a five-member commission and an executive director selected by the commission. Commission members are appointed by the governor, with the advice of the Texas Senate, and serve overlapping six-year terms.The department is divided into 25 districts, each of which oversees construction and maintenance of state highways. Austin’s district includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Gillespie, Hays, Lee, Llano, Mason, Travis and Williamson counties.In Austin, the organization encompasses entities including Capital Metro; the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, known as CAMPO; the city’s transportation department; and the chamber of commerce. TxDOT organized the “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti-litter campaign, which began in 1986. Also, it runs the TxTag program, which bills drivers for highway tolls by scanning a sticker on the driver’s windshield at toll stations.

TxDOT Looking at High-Speed Rail from Oklahoma to Texas

RailMap.jpg
Federal Railroad Administration
/

The Texas Department of Transportation has moved one step closer towards the idea of using rail as an option to address highway congestion on Interstate 35. The news comes as the TxDOT kicks off a $14 million, two-year study to explore the possibility of passenger rail service from Oklahoma City to South Texas.

The study will examine the best possible options for the development of passenger trains that will connect metropolitan areas such as the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Austin, and San Antonio.  The analysis will compare different types of services, including both a new high-speed rail system and existing Amtrak routes.

John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director and chief engineer, says “passenger rail [is] a strategic component for the future of Texas transportation.”

The rail study is partially funded by a $5.6 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration’s High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program, and a 20 percent match by TxDOT.

The FRA launched the rail program in June of 2009. So far, the program's investments have been concentrated in six corridors, which include routes throughout the Midwest, Northeast, Northwest and in California. (You can see planned and potential routes in the map above.)

The project in California will be the nation’s first 220 mph high-speed rail system, which will connect two of the country’s largest metropolitan areas: Los Angeles and San Francisco. According to the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the 800-mile line will cut travel time from L.A. to San Francisco from seven hours via car to two hours and 40 minutes via rail.

TxDOT is already meeting with citizens along the corridor to seek input on the study. If you would like to contact a representative from TxDOT for more information, you can call (512) 463-8700.

Related Content