Texas plan would use federal carbon-cutting dollars for highway projects

November 20, 2023

The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT) is considering using federal funds intended to cut carbon emissions on state highway construction projects.

TXDot unveiled a draft of the Texas Carbon Reduction Strategy (CRS) in late October. The plan is part of the state’s effort to curb vehicle emissions by improving roadways and infrastructure to reduce congestion. In theory, by allowing idling cars and trucks to move at an improved pace, the state can lighten how much carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.

If the CRS is approved, Texas is expected to win $641 million over five years from the federal Carbon Reduction Program (CRP), a $6.4 billion initiative that provides funds for state projects that reduce transportation emissions. Texas would then use the award to fund projects that reduce transportation emissions. 

The CRS indicates that $112 million would be allocated to one of the state’s federally funded highway programs. The remaining $529 million would be used on projects that:

  • Use advanced technologies to improve traffic flow and operations.
  • Reduce congestion to improve the transportation system’s operational efficiency.
  • Support access, availability and safety of cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Support mass transit use.
  • Use carbon-reducing practices, materials and technology.
  • Support adoption of alternative fuels and electric vehicles. 
  • Reduce the environmental and community impacts of freight movement.

For example, $131 million of CRP funds could be used to expand State Highway Loop 1604 in San Antonio with special use lanes for high-occupancy vehicles. Another $200 million could be allocated to adding non-tolled managed lanes, reconstructing ramps, improving frontage roads and adding auxiliary lanes on Interstate 35 in Williamson County near Georgetown.

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Paul Stinson

Paul Stinson has more than 15 years of journalism experience, including a decade covering the legislative and regulatory affairs of Texas, South Africa, and Germany for an affiliate of Bloomberg, L.P. His experience includes covering voting rights and the sectors of environment, energy, labor, healthcare, and taxes. Stinson joined the team in October as a reporter for SPI’s news publications, which include Government Contracting Pipeline, Texas Government Insider, and the newly-launched Government Market News. He is also a Fulbright Scholar to Germany, and an Arthur F. Burns Fellow. He holds a master’s in journalism from Indiana University.   

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