In a unanimous decision, the five-member Texas Transportation Commission voted to adopt new rules that, for the first time, enhance the role citizens and communities play in planning the state’s transportation system, increasing transparency and accountability in the transportation planning process, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) press release. The rules were re-written by a body called the Transportation Planning and Project Development Rulemaking Advisory Committee, comprised of 11 representatives from the Texas Legislature, metropolitan planning organizations, local government, transit organizations, tolling authorities and the Federal Highway Administration, created by the Commission in mid-2009.


A key component of the rules change requires TxDOT to codify its planning program rules in such a way that enables TxDOT and empowers MPOs to develop long-range, mid range and short range plans, each with specified, measurable criteria. Also new to the process is the use of an extended cash forecast, which will provide greater flexibility for TxDOT and MPOs as they react to fluctuating financial resources by advancing or delaying projects, and to ensure that planning documents are appropriately fiscally constrained.


The rules will go into effect January 1, 2011.