TABLE OF CONTENTS
Texas. Department of Transportation, Texas Turnpike Authority Division:
An Inventory of Texas Turnpike Authority Division Feasibility Studies and Proposals at the Texas State Archives, 1972-2005 (not inclusive).
The Texas Department of Transportation, in cooperation with local and regional officials, is responsible for planning, designing, building, operating and maintaining the state's transportation system. This involves planning, designing, and acquiring right-of-way for state highways and other modes of transportation; researching issues to save lives and solve problems; constructing bridges and improving airports; and maintaining roadways, bridges, airports, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and ferry systems. Other functions carried out by TxDOT include public transportation, vehicle titles and registration, vehicle dealer registration, motor carrier registration, traffic safety, traffic information, and auto theft prevention.
The Texas Highway Department was created in 1917 (House Bill 2, 35th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) to stimulate the building and improvement of roads throughout the state. The Federal Aid Road Act of July 11, 1916 (39 Stat. 355; 16 U.S.C. 503; 23 U.S.C. 15, 48), signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, initiated federal aid for highways with the requirement that each state receiving aid have a state highway department that controlled the building of roads. The Department was to administer federal funds to counties for state highway construction and maintenance and to provide for state motor vehicle registration, fees from which were to generate the state's required matching funds. The department began operation on June 4, 1917. After gathering information at public hearings over that summer, the commission proposed an 8,865-mile state highway network. Further influence from the national level came with the Federal Highway Act of 1921, which required state highway departments to control the design, construction and maintenance of roads rather than follow Texas' practice of allowing counties to undertake the work themselves with oversight from department engineers.
In 1969 the Legislature created the Texas Mass Transportation Commission (House Bill 738, 61st Legislature, Regular Session) to develop public mass transportation in Texas. This agency was merged with the Highway Department in 1975, creating the State Department of Highways and Public Transportation (Senate Bill 761, 64th Legislature, Regular Session). An executive order of May 1976 transferred the Governor's Office of Traffic Safety to the Department. The Texas Department of Transportation was created in 1991 (House Bill 9, 72nd Legislature, 1st Called Session), merging the Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation, the Texas Department of Aviation (created as the Texas Aeronautics Commission in 1945, name changed to Texas Board of Aviation in 1989); and the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission (created in 1971). In 1997 the Texas Turnpike Authority merged with the Texas Department of Transportation (Senate Bill 370, 75th Legislature, Regular Session).
The Texas Department of Transportation's governing body is the Texas Transportation Commission, originally composed of three members, increased to five in 2003 (Senate Bill 409, 78th Texas Legislature, Regular Session). Commissioners are representatives of the general public appointed by the governor with advice and consent of the senate for overlapping six-year terms. Since 2003, one of the members must represent rural Texas. The positions are part-time salaried positions, and the chair (appointed by the governor) was originally called the commissioner of transportation; since 2003, each member is referred to as a commissioner.
The Texas Turnpike Authority (TTA) Division strives to improve mobility and safety through the development and operation of a safe, reliable and cost-effective system of toll roads using private-sector partners and financing options to accelerate project delivery. It is responsible for feasibility studies, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of tolled turnpikes, bridges, and tunnels at locations with high traffic volume. A TTA Board exists, consisting of six members appointed by the governor as well as the chair of the Texas Transportation Commission as an ex-officio member. Board members serve staggered six year terms and are independent of the Transportation Commission.
(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, 11th edition (2001); An Informal History of the Texas Department of Transportation, by Hilton Hagan (2000) (previously available on the TxDOT website, the link has since been removed); and divisional information, found on the agency's website ( http://www.dot.state.tx.us/about_us/) accessed June 2008.)
The Texas Department of Transportation prepared feasibility studies for long-range transportation planning goals, usually at the request of local or regional authorities. Proposals were submitted by companies interested in bidding on proposed highway construction projects. The bulk of this series consists of feasibility analyses or studies undertaken by the Texas Turnpike Authority and later the Texas Turnpike Authority Division of the Texas Department of Transportation for building or altering roads or bridges in order to ease traffic congestion or provide new avenues of access to a particular area, and generate revenue to offset the construction costs. Also present are proposals for two proposed toll roads, and a proposal for a statewide toll collection system. These proposals do not contain all the formal documentation, such as specifications and contract timetables, that would be present in a formal bid proposal for construction. Two proposals consist of qualifications and references for the companies interested in submitting a formal proposal for work on the project. Dates covered are 1972, 1976, 1978-1979, 1985-1986, 1989-1990, 1996-1997, 2000, 2003, and 2005. Feasibility studies were typically prepared at the request of local or regional authorities for long-range transportation planning goals, generally by a contracted consulting firm. Types of studies or proposals include Bolivar Channel crossing feasibility analysis, initial assessment of Houston tollways, proposal for a statewide toll collection system, toll rate study of the Houston Ship Channel bridge, exploratory investigations of the Offatts Bayou Bridge, proposed development of State Highway 45 toll road and the US 183-A toll road, and others. Information found in the studies can include cost analyses and revenue projections, environmental impact data, maps of proposed routes, structural analysis of affected structures, traffic capacity analysis, shipping lane studies, technical drawings, and the scope of the construction. Staff at the agency could not say if all of these studies resulted in completed or even accepted projects. Some projects were undertaken by the department, such as the construction of State Highway 45 and US 183-A toll roads in Central Texas.
To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.
Restrictions on Access
Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.
Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
(Identify the item), Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Turnpike Authority Division feasibility studies and proposals. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession number: 2008/153
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Department of Transportation on June 13, 2008.
Laura K. Saegert, June 2008
These records were appraised as archival by State Archives staff on June 6, 2008. A copy of the appraisal report is online at http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/appraisal/index.html or in paper at the State Archives reading room.