RTC approves $36.74M for key bike-ped connections
The Regional Transportation Council recently approved $36.74 million toward significant expansions to the growing network of bicycle-pedestrian trails in Dallas-Fort Worth to improve access to transit, jobs, schools and other major destinations. This federal funding will pay for expansion of the Fort Worth-to-Dallas Regional Veloweb Trail and for crucial parts of the Cotton Belt Regional Trail. With the addition of local matching funds, this recent investment in the trails will top $40 million.
There will be $9.08 million in federal funding for construction of 3.1 miles of the Fort Worth-to-Dallas Regional Veloweb Trail that will complete a continuous 53-mile trail southern alignment connecting Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Irving and Dallas.
The approved section of the Fort Worth-to-Dallas trail will connect the existing Mike Lewis Trail in Grand Prairie to the Trinity Railway Express Centreport/DFW Airport Station in Fort Worth and the River Legacy Trail near State Highway 360 in Arlington. All sections of the regional trail southern alignment are anticipated to be complete by 2023.
Additionally, the RTC committed $8.20 million toward the engineering design of a 26-mile Cotton Belt Trail and $19.46 million toward the construction of 8.5 miles of the trail, including trail bridges over major roadways, as part of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Cotton Belt commuter rail line project.
The Cotton Belt Trail will ultimately connect with the existing Cotton Belt Trail in Grapevine, which currently extends westward through several cities in Tarrant County.
In addition to the funding approved by the RTC, the Dallas County Commissioners Court took action September 4, to approve $4.94 million toward construction of an additional 3.3 miles of the Cotton Belt Trail.
Automated Vehicle Program 2.0 to provide planning resources for AVs
The Regional Transportation Council recently approved the Automated Vehicle Program 2.0, which will guide the North Central Texas Council of Governments through the next generation of AV development. NCTCOG is believed to be the first metropolitan planning organization in the nation to pass a significant funding program for automated vehicles and seeks to promote an environment that encourages innovation in all transportation sectors. This is the latest move by NCTCOG’s Automated Vehicle Program, which was formed to advance development and deployment of transportation technologies with the potential to deliver safer, more efficient transportation.
The region is attracting more attention from the AV developer community for a variety of AV deployment types, such as robo-taxis and freight delivery. The program will provide eligible public entities assistance with planning and implementation while helping with AV deployment in underserved communities.
The AV Program 2.0 consists of three elements:
- Planning: Provide assistance for public entities that are planning ahead for the deployment of AVs ($1.5 million)
- Implementation Costs: Funding to help public entities cover infrastructure, equipment, safety, public education and other costs incurred when an AV deployment comes to a community ($10 million)
- Regional Priority Projects: AV deployment projects supporting use cases/communities that have not attracted AV developer interest ($20 million)
This program is designed to provide planning resources for DFW communities and other public entities to get ready for AVs while advancing regional mobility goals. This includes providing funding for strategic regional investments in AV services in communities and exploring use cases that may be overlooked by the AV developer communities. AV 2.0 encourages effective public-private partnerships with the AV developer community by reimbursing public entities for costs they incur in those partnerships. The RTC’s intention is to position DFW as a leader in development/deployment of AVs.
Part of IH 30 in Arlington set for weekend closure Nov. 9 for bridge demolition
Both eastbound and westbound Interstate Highway 30 main lanes near State Highway 360 are scheduled for a weekend closure beginning at 7 pm Friday, November 9 for bridge removal at SH 360. The lanes between Collins Street and the President George Bush Turnpike are expected to reopen at 5 am Monday, November 12. Traffic will be detoured during the closure, with drivers asked to use SH 180 (Division Street).
Eastbound traffic will exit Collins Street and continue south to Division Street. Motorists will then turn north onto SH 161 and enter the President George Bush Turnpike to travel north or east (entry is not tolled). Westbound traffic will be detoured onto the southbound lanes of the Bush Turnpike to exit SH 180/Main Street (free exit). They will turn west onto Main, turn north on Collins and then return to IH 30 via the westbound frontage road. For more information, including a map, visit www.keep30360moving.com
Alternative fuel corridor nominations to reopen
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has opened the third round of alternative fuel corridor nominations.
The request for nominations enables various stakeholders, such as State and local governments, to provide meaningful feedback on how to improve the mobility of passenger and commercial vehicles utilizing alternative fuels and electric charging. Most of the region’s interstate highways, except IH 820 and IH 635, have been identified Alternative Fuel Highway Corridors.
Feedback provided by stakeholders will help guide the strategic deployment of this critical infrastructure along national highway system corridors.
The current round of nominations invites stakeholders to propose additional corridors and build upon currently designated corridors to support the development of a robust national network of alternative fueling and charging infrastructure.
For more information about the nomination process, please visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment. To submit comments, contact DFW Clean Cities at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for submitting nominations is January 31, 2019.
Texas LoanSTAR program provides energy help
The Texas LoanSTAR (Saving Taxes and Resources) Revolving Loan Program provides low-interest loans to assist Texas public institutions by financing their energy-related, cost-reduction retrofit projects.
Loan recipients may be cities, counties, school districts, State agencies, public institutions of higher education and tax-supported public hospital districts.
Renewable energy efficiency projects are strongly encouraged to apply for funding through this new program. These can include the installation of rooftop solar water and space heating systems, geothermal heat pumps, and small wind and solar-thermal systems.
The deadline for submitting applications is August 30, 2019. For more information, visit www.nctcog.org/aqfunding. Through last year, the program had provided more than 290 loans worth more than $457 million, according to the comptroller’s website.
The program has helped recipients save more than $571 million in energy costs.
Incentives could help with purchase of EVs
Are you thinking about purchasing an electric vehicle to save on gasoline? It may be more affordable than you think.
Did you know that you could get up $13,500 for purchasing an Electric Vehicle? Right now the federal government is offering up to $7,500 dollars for the purchase of a new qualified plug-in electric vehicle (PEV). Additionally, Texas residents are eligible to receive up to $2,500 for a qualified EV.
And if you live in the North Texas area, the AirCheckTexas Drive a Clean Machine Program provides individuals who meet program requirements, a voucher for up to $3,500 toward an EV up to three model years old.
Find more information regarding these incentives at www.dfwcleancities.org/evnt.
Public encouraged to provide transportation input
NCTCOG will host a public meeting in November to address and seek public input on the Strategic Partnerships Round 3 Program, High-Speed Rail initiatives and the region’s air quality.
The meeting will take place at NCTCOG’s Arlington offices, 616 Six Flags Drive, at 6 pm Tuesday, November 13.
Staff will present details on the projects and programs being proposed for federal mobility and air quality funding. These projects either leverage funds from local partners, contribute to intersection improvements or qualify for federal toll credits.
Each of the projects is evaluated based on its technical merits and will be available for review and comment.
Additionally, staff will provide updates on the Fort Worth-to-Laredo high-speed rail project, along with a progress report on the Dallas-to-Fort Worth and the Dallas-to-Houston projects.
The meeting will also include a review of this year’s preliminary ozone season results and highlight the accomplishments of various air quality projects. Ozone season in North Texas ends November 30, and the region continues to make progress in its effort to meet federal standards.
Staff will conclude with resources and information on electric vehicle incentives and qualifications available in Texas through AirCheckTexas.
For more information on which EVs qualify for rebates, visit www.dfwcleancities.org/evnt. To verify EV eligibility and learn more about AirCheckTexas, visit https://www.nctcog.org/trans/quality/air/for-everyone/aircheck
To watch the meeting online, click the “live” tab at www.nctcog.org/video. A recording of the presentations will also be posted at www.nctcog.org/input