DFW AIRPORT - More than a fourth of Texas' 100 top transportation challenges are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and two of the worst roads include two sections of Interstate 35W north of downtown Fort Worth, a report released Thursday concluded.In all, 26 of the 100 biggest transportation challenges in the state are in North Texas, based on factors such as road conditions, congestion and cost of improvement, according to a report released by TRIP, a Washington-based organization that favors increased highway funding.Local and national transportation advocates used the report's release Thursday to call on the Texas Legislature to increase highway funding to avoid stalling the state's economic growth."The consequence of not making these improvements is severe," said Carolyn Bonifas Kelly, associate director of research for TRIP, a Washington-based organization supported by insurance and construction companies and other businesses that favor increased highway funding.Gathering at Dallas Fort Worth Airport's headquarters, officials from TRIP, the Texas Good Roads and Transportation Association and other groups called for lawmakers to embrace new funding sources. The state currently relies on motor fuel taxes and money borrowed through bonds to pay for its roads."Now, when TxDot does its budget and takes $2 billion off the top for debt, that's money that's not going to these projects," said Lawrence Olsen, executive vice president of Texas Good Roads. Among the local projects listed on the report's top 100 Texas transportation challenges:Interstate 30 from Jefferson Street to Loop 12 in Dallas - a corridor that will be addressed in the Horseshoe project recently funded by the Texas Transportation Commission. Late last year, the commission selected a developer, Pegasus Link Constructors, which committed to performing $798 million worth of work in the corridor. That area is often used by motorists arriving in Dallas from the Arlington area.I-35W from Texas 183 (28th Street) to U.S. 81 (Decatur Cutoff) in north Fort Worth - a project that is being addressed in the North Tarrant Express development project. Work is expected to begin this spring on the reconstruction of existing lanes and the addition of two toll lanes in each direction - but the goal of adding free lanes and continuous frontage roads will not be achieved for more than a decade under current spending plans, officials said.U.S. 75 from Texas 190 (Bush Turnpike) to Interstate 635 in Dallas County. State officials said the proposed addition of managed lanes will be the subject of a corridor study over the next couple of years. However, the improvements aren't currently funded.I-35W from Interstate 30 to Texas 183 (28th Street) in Fort Worth -- also part of North Tarrant Express. This area also will get a makeover, with the addition of toll lanes, but new free lanes won't be added in the near term.During the current legislative session, lawmakers are being asked to get serious about providing better long-term funding sources for transportation. Rider Scott, executive director of the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition, said a growing number of citizens want the state to find funds to fix the crumbling roads.Among the suggestions is that the state stop diverting transportation funds to other projects, which could generate about $1.2 billion per year. Another idea would be to dedicate sales taxes paid on automobile purchases to the state's Fund 6 highway fund, rather than the general fund, raising another $3 billionGordon Dickson, 817-390-7796Twitter: @gdickson
Top transportation challenges in Texas
To view the report of Texas' 100 biggest transportation challenges by TRIP, a Washington-based research group, visit tripnet.org.