DALLAS -- The North Central Texas Council of Governments is expected to recommend Tuesday that the state's Tumpike Authority consider the feasibility of 10 potential toll road projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, an official said this week.
"They will submit a candidate list of the projects that would work best as toll roads" when the Texas Tumpike Authority's board meets next week, said Jerry Shelton, the agency's vice president of administration.
Shelton said some projects had initially been identified for Texas department of transportation funding, but have been put on hold because the department only has enough money to fund about 60% of its own list. The state funding shortfall has spurred interest in toll roads and federal moneys available through the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act for tumpike projects, Shelton said.
Under the proposal, the North Central Texas Council has identified eight potential freeway ,projects and targeted two freeways as candidates for express lane additions.
The Dallas-Fort Worth freeway projects include: West Fork Trinity from Interstate 820 to Trinity Parkway; a Santa Fe bypass on Trinity Parkway; State Highway 190 from Interstate 35E to Interstate 635; a super connector from Interstate 35E to Interstate 635; State Highway 161 from Interstate 635 to Belt Line Road; State Highway 121 from International Parkway to state road 2281; State Highway 121 Extension from Interstate 35W to Sycamore School Road; and the DFW Airport East-West connector from State Highway 360 to State Highway 161.
Candidates for express lanes would be a section of Interstate 635 from Interstate 35E to U.S. 75 and a section of Interstate 35E from state road 407 to Interstate 635.
If the Texas Turnpike Authority board accepts the schedule of potential toll road projects, the staff will work on identifying project priorities, and some would be the subjects of feasibility studies, Shelton said.
Some projects, such as State Highway 190, are already being studied for their feasibility to expand the Dallas North Tollway System. Meanwhile, the authority board and staff also will hold an opening ceremony Tuesday to mark the completion of a six-mile extension of the Dallas North Tollway System, which will span 21 miles starting next week. The three-year, $125 million project was built to accommodate rapid growth in the suburbs north of Dallas.
Other toll road projects also could be realized in the next few years when the Texas Turnpike Authority is expected to help capitalize a revolving fund that could be the first of its kind in the nation. The fund, which would be used to enhance credit and provide leverage for $500 million in infrastructure improvements, is expected to benefit dozens of toll road and bridge projects around Texas, particularly along the U.S.-Mexican border.
At the Tuesday meeting, the board will hear a progress report on the revolving fund, which is expected to be capitalized with $25 million in surplus funds from the Dallas North Tollway.
In addition, the Texas department of transportation was to have provided another $25 million, most likely with federal funds allocated from the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. However, Shelton said, concern has surfaced that the transportation department may not provide its share of the funding after the resignation last year of transportation commissioner Henry Munoz, who was a primary advocate of the revolving fund.