North Texas may pass the Chicago area population by the year 2045 and regional transportation planners have taken that into account in the new Mobility 2045 plan.
It includes more roads, more rail transit, more bicycle lanes and new transportation technology just being imagined now.
“The advent of traffic signals talking to cars, cars talking to cars, autonomous vehicles -- this is a pretty exciting time to be in transportation,” said Michael Morris, Transportation Director with the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
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Morris leads the Regional Transportation Council which adopted the new Mobility 2045 plan.
“We’re always short of money. We don’t have enough money to build everything that’s in the plan,” said Dallas City Council Member Sandy Greyson, a long time RTC member.
Greyson and Morris were both named on the Mobility 2020 plan adopted in 1996. Much of that plan has been accomplished.
“A lot of that has really helped us not only grow, but be able to cope with the growth that we’ve had over the last 20 years,” Greyson said.
She points to the LBJ Express project as a major accomplishment. It added toll express lanes under the I-635 LBJ Freeway through North Dallas between I-35E and US75 Central Expressway.
“That was 20 years in the making and because we had the managed lanes we were able to get that road built,” Greyson said.
Several entirely new highways in the 2020 plan have been completed as toll-roads.
Even though Governor Greg Abbott opposes any new tolls, managed toll express lanes that are optional for drivers are included for future North Texas projects in the North Texas Mobility 2045 plan.
Michael Morris said North Texas leaders support that approach.
“Our elected officials, almost to a person, insist that some ability to toll the express lanes is critical,” he said.
The Mobility 2045 plan calls for $134 billion dollars in North Texas Transportation investment the next 25 years.