TxDOT seeks public input for 'Connecting Texas 2050' plan

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is planning ahead for the next 30 years. They want to hear from Texans for their long-term plan called "Connecting Texas 2050."

At one of many open houses across the state, people shared their thoughts on the future of transportation.

After a series of TxDOT meetings earlier this year, Texans said safety, maintenance, and quality of life are important to them. Now, the department is asking people to prioritize strategies.

"I really like the safety and mobility aspect of it. I think an increase in public transportation, accessible routes for pedestrians and bicyclists. The community would really benefit from them," attendee Arturo Terrazas said. 

"Thinking about environmental stewardship and doing things in an environmentally responsible way is a priority for me," attendee Leslie Carter said.

"We don't have an endless supply of money. So when you have a certain pot of money, you need to prioritize and think about what's most important and what we need to spend our money on," Brad Wheelis with TxDOT said. 

They started developing the plan last fall and will continue through next spring. 

"It's important that we plan for our future transportation because things are changing. We're seeing unprecedented growth here in Texas. We've got technology that is advancing, and we need to prepare for that," Wheelis said.

The plan isn't just about highways, but also bike and pedestrian paths, railroads, ports, and more. It will be a combination of building new infrastructure and renovating existing infrastructure. 

"When we're looking at 2050, we're looking at perhaps widening roadways, adding capacity, but we're also looking at new and innovative ideas. Really everything is on the table," Wheelis said.

If you missed Wednesday's open house, there will be other open houses across the state and virtual meetings. You can also submit your comments online by Dec. 15.