Since its completion in early 2015, the innovative LBJ TEXpress has offered cross-town commuters much needed mobility improvements and traffic relief, spurred massive economic development in North Dallas, reduced traffic accidents, and improved the quality of life in nearby neighborhoods, while protecting taxpayers.
Unfortunately, the LBJ TEXpress driving experience comes to a screeching halt when drivers travel east of US 75.
For years, officials from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), Dallas County, and the cities of Dallas, Garland and Mesquite have been working with dozens of nearby neighborhood and economic development leaders to address the traffic congestion that plagues I-635 from US 75 to I-30.
The long-awaited solution, called LBJ East, was scheduled to begin construction in early 2018 … until officials in Austin essentially pulled the plug on LBJ East in late 2017, in response to political pressure from a small group of anti-toll activists. The actual people affected by their decision – the 200,000+ drivers who daily endure that stretch of I-635 – need to get in the driver's seat and start making our voices heard.
We need our state elected officials to know we want LBJ NOW!
More than 150 people attended the recent LBJ East community meeting hosted by Councilmember Adam McGough. In case you missed it, feel free to download the presentation and materials that were distributed:
As the second-fastest growing area in the nation, North Texas is booming and growing, adding 100,000+ new residents each year since 2010. That growth is evident for drivers who drive on I-635 between US 75 and I-30. In fact, that stretch of roadway -- called LBJ East -- has been identified by state and regional transportation officials as their top priority for expansion and improvement. Some 200,000+ drivers each day travel that stretch of road, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, and they face frustrating, dangerous traffic congestion.
While the State has made great strides toward investing in more roads in recent years, the reality is that state spending is still unable to keep up with the demand. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates it will require about $60 billion in the next 5 to 10 years to reduce congestion in Texas’ urban areas, money that is not currently available through tax revenues alone.
However, a combination of public and private funding has been secured to start the project right away. If not for a recent decision by some state officials to ban the inclusion of any optional toll lanes in the long-delayed LBJ East or any other infrastructure project.
The decision threatens to bring the LBJ East project -- and its related congestion, safety and economic benefits -- to a screeching halt. Time is ticking and money is wasting to the tune of $5 million per month, according to one state senator. Motorists need LBJ NOW!
TxDOT, in close collaboration with regional and local leaders, has been planning to improve and expand I-635 from US 75 to I-30. Similar to the innovative LBJ TEXpress, which was completed in 2015, the LBJ East project would connect to the current LBJ TEXpress and include: five free, reconstructed and enhanced freeway lanes in each direction, continuous frontage roads along both sides of I-635, and the inclusion of two TEXpress managed toll lanes in each direction to give drivers a choice.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments reports that 36,000 drivers a day choose to drive on the recently-added "interim" single toll lanes on I-635 east of US 75 – putting the lanes at the full capacity.
Unfortunately, the plan to extend the LBJ TEXpress to serve hundreds of thousands of drivers who travel daily on the eastern portion of I-635, may be coming to a screeching halt. After some state leaders objected to the use of any tolled lanes in any transportation projects, the Texas Transportation Commission surprised TxDOT and North Texans in December by excluding LBJ East from the state's transportation plan.
Delaying this project further would take a costly toll on all of us:
We deserve to have infrastructure to preserve our quality of life. We need good, safe roads to get to and from work. We need improved freeways and optional toll lane to travel to kids' sporting events, enjoy dining, arts and entertainment, and to visit friends and family. We need LBJ NOW!