TxDOT Announces the Closing of Bay Area Boulevard as part of the IH-45 construction project.  The closing of Bay Area Boulevard is scheduled to start at 9:00 PM Friday, February 26, 2016, and should be completed in late May, weather permitting.  The detour from Bay Area Boulevard is as follows:  eastbound Bay Area traffic will be detoured to NASA 1, westbound Bay Area Boulevard traffic will be detoured to El Dorado, IH-45 southbound frontage road will continue on the current configuration and through the Bay Area intersection, and IH-45 northbound traffic will continue on current configuration through the Bay Area intersection.

Texas Transportation Commission approves the Texas Freight Mobility Plan.  At the last Texas Transportation Commission meeting on Thursday, January 28, 2016, the commissioners approved the comprehensive multimodal transportation plan that focuses on the state’s freight transportation needs.  The freight plan highlights the state’s mobility needs and challenges, outlines statewide goals and objectives to improve the movement of goods, defines freight policies and programs, and serves as an investment guide for freight transportation improvements.  In addition, the report identifies freight transportation facilities and investments critical to economic growth.  For more information about the plan, contact Caroline Mays, TxDOT at 512-936-0904 or caroline.mays@txdot.gov

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner calls for a change in transportation philosophy.  Speaking to the Texas Transportation Commission, Mayor Turner recently suggested that it is time for state funding to shift away from the automobile and toward alternatives, including commuter rail, high-occupancy vehicle lanes, park and rides, and local transit.  Turner argued that for local commuters widening highways would only lead to more gridlock.  Turner suggested, "we need a paradigm shift” and stated that there are plans to appoint a Transportation Czar for the City.  Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Moseley has met with the Mayor and the Mayor’s transition team.  This is a timely message, as TxDOT starts preparing for the 2017 legislative session.

The Galveston Downtown Transit Terminal will officially open on Sunday, February 21, 2016.  The transit terminal is designed to improve Island Transit service, intermodal connections, and the quality of life in the City’s downtown area.  In addition, the terminal should make it easier for visitors to get around Galveston without a car.  The transit terminal takes up about half a block on the Galveston Strand at 25th Street.  It will serve as the hub for Island Transit bus service and intermodal connectivity.  Grand opening ceremonies are scheduled for Wednesday, February 24, 2016.

2015 was a very good year for the Port of Houston Authority and provided support to the regional economy.  Despite the downturn in the oil and gas industry, the Port of Houston has continued to thrive and serve as a source of stability for the local economy. Highlights of the past year’s activities at the Port include:

  •           8,379 oceangoing ships, up from 8,339 in 2014 
  •                39 tankers move through the Ship Channel on an average day, with a high of 56
  •                279,065 total ship movements
  •                2.1 million TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit) containers to the Port Authority docks
  •               The Port plans to invest $1 billion in capital improvements over the next five years and has announced plans to construct a 300,000 square foot temperature controlled cargo facility at the Bayport Container terminal

With more than 150 entities along the Ship Channel and the planned growth at the Port of Houston, the activity at the Port will continue and will provide the region with a "safety net” during challenging times in other industries.



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