The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and Texas Metropolitan Planning Organizations have obligated all of the $2.25 billion Texas received for transportation projects. All ARRA funding must be obligated by March 1, 2010.

“Congress challenged us to put this money to work and we have met that challenge,” said John Barton, TxDOT Assistant Executive Director for Engineering Operations.

TxDOT obligated the $2.25 billion for highways, bridges, rail, and transportation enhancement projects.

For transit, Texas received $371 million, splitting the funding with $301 million for urban areas and $42 million for rural transit providers. Another $28 million has been made available to cities through a high growth and high density state formula, providing nearly $50 million for rural transit in total.

Texas and other states were required to apply for portions of the $1.1 billion ARRA aviation funds made available on a project specific basis to the Federal Aviation Administration. To date, Texas has received funding for six aviation projects totaling $17 million.

TxDOT also submitted nine applications to High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Grant program (HSIPR), funded by ARRA and the 2009 Appropriations Act. Two projects were awarded for $11 million. Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer, traveling from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth received a $4 million award and Fort Worth’s Trinity Rail Express was awarded $7 million to improve commuter rail service between Fort Worth and Dallas. Both of the Texas grant awards directly impact existing passenger rail in the state, allowing existing lines to travel at higher speeds or avoid congestion.

Texas received $7.2 million in discretionary funding for the construction of a new 28-car ferry vessel for TxDOT’s Port Aransas Ferry System in Nueces County. The project is in the preliminary development stage.

ARRA’s goal to impact jobs helped contractors across the state maintain workforce levels, calming the effects of the recession and allowing the construction industry, as a whole, keeping thousands of workers off the unemployment rolls, which is a significant boost to the economy.

Through the end of 2009, Texas transportation contractors reported more than 2 million payroll hours for workers working on projects funded with ARRA dollars. This translates to approximately 4,000 full time employees.

Additionally, TxDOT took steps to require contractors to provide additional training for workers. These workers will leave job sites with additional skills that can be utilized in the future, increasing the population of skilled workers. This was not an ARRA requirement, but it was something that TxDOT believed was an important element considering the jobs situation in our country.

Texas submitted approximately 100 projects for funding through ARRA’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant program. Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Texas will receive two TIGER grants benefitting Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex transportation projects. The North Texas Tollway Authority will receive $20 million to support a direct Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan of approximately $400 million for the State Highway 161 project in Dallas. The North Central Texas Council of Governments will receive $23 million to develop a streetcar service in downtown Dallas.

During the Texas Transportation Commission hearing on February 25, 2010 it was pointed out that due to cost underruns, a small portion of funding may be re-obligated. The exact amount of those underruns are not yet known.