MIDLAND-ODESSA - A lot of roads here in the Permian Basin are in need of repair and new infrastructure. MOTRAN had a meeting on Tuesday with the Federal Highway Administration to discuss funding for the much needed road maintenance.
MOTRAN has a long list of projects including repairing I-20 and Highway 349 as well as many others, but the problem is that they lack the monetary resources needed to fix these highways.
The President of the Midland Odessa Transportation Alliance (MOTRAN), James Beauchamp, said, "It's always important to remember that for purposes of funding here in the state, a little over $3 billion comes from the Federal Highway Trust that's directed by the Federal Highway Administration and then ultimately used by TXDOT on-area projects."
$140 million dollars will be available for road infrastructure, which seems like a lot, but for projects like building new highways and loops, Beauchamp says that it's simply not enough.
"The problem, when you look at that amount of funding, is that over half of the money is being allocated to maintenance and pavement rehab out on the existing Interstate," Beauchamp said.
MOTRAN has wanted to invest in building loops in Midland and Odessa to make for easier transportation and to relieve some of the cities traffic. But to do this, it would cost more than the state can afford.
"We're not using federal dollars any longer, we're using our state dollars. That's sort of the precursor we're looking at on this day and time, is that all of our money is going towards maintaining our Interstate. As it looks today, we are not going to be building new projects and developing capacity here," Beauchamp said.
Even though fixing our existing highway is important, MOTRAN finds it necessary to spend more time on planning the development of new projects due to the growing population and heavy truck traffic.
"We need to see more planning and development of new projects rather than just existing maintenance projects. Maintenance is easy because you don't have to go through a lot of planning of environmental schematics and design just to allocate the money on rehab. But, at some point, you have to expand capacity and that's got to be a precedence out here," Beauchamp said.