Tyler MPO Transportation Policy Committee learns more on state-wide efforts for safer roadways

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Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 11:05 PM CDT

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - There’s a statewide push for safety on Texas roadways and Tyler could play a role in it. According to TxDOT, for the past several years, about 10 people die every day in crashes in the state.

A presentation was given to the Tyler Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Policy Committee on the beginning steps that state-level agencies are taking in an effort to get funding for local transportation committees.

The Texas Transportation Commission has created a statewide safety task force, in a response to an initiative called Vision Zero. The goal is to try to have zero deaths on Texas highways by 2050. Tyler’s Metropolitan Planning Organization Manager (MPO) Michael Howell said the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex MPO presented recommendations to other state MPOs that the safety taskforce is getting ready to make to the Texas Transportation Commission.

“That included budgeting items from state funds that would come to the MPOs and it would be a $50,000 distribution to each of the MPOs, throughout the state, that would be funding that would be dedicated specifically towards safety enhancement projects,” Howell said.

Funding is still being proposed at this point and Howell said no adoptions have been made. But this could potentially help the City of Tyler and surrounding areas with safety action plans.

“We would probably be having additional discussions with both the police chief, probably the local fire chiefs for both the city of Tyler and Emergency Services Districts, the hospitals would all be very likely stakeholders that we’d be engaging as part of that process,” Howell said.

The purpose of today’s presentation was to give notice to the Tyler policy committee that this is a discussion being proposed to the Texas Transportation Commission.

“The 50,000 (dollar) authorization would be on an annual basis. They’ve said it’s essentially a use-it-or-lose-it allocation that is going to be going out there,” he said. “So what we’re trying to be at this point is proactive in making sure that if this does get approved, as it’s currently being proposed to the Texas Transportation Commission, that we will be ready and already have a plan for how to incorporate that (funding) so we don’t risk losing it in that first year.”

All of this is in the proposal stage right now. Howell said they have not been given a timeline for presentation or approval at this time but they are following up with the state to get updates.