The Texas Transportation Commission Selects Apparent Best Value Proposer for Grand Parkway Project

The Texas Transportation Commission selected the apparent best value proposer for the design, construction and long-term capital maintenance of the Grand Parkway project, a 37-mile, greenfield toll road in Houston. The high-priority project awarded on Thursday consists of Segments F-1, F-2 and G of the Grand Parkway, part of a proposed 184-mile highway, encircling the Houston area. A few of the other, smaller segments of the Grand Parkway are being developed using traditional construction contracts. Segments D and E are currently under construction and Segment I-2 is already open to traffic.

Four short-listed proposers submitted technical proposals on August 15 and price proposals on August 22.

  • FBW, a consortium comprised of Fluor, Balfour Beatty Infrastructure and Williams Brothers;
  • Kiewit-Granite Parkway Constructors, a joint venture between Kiewit Texas Construction, Granite Construction Co. and Texas Sterling;
  • Spring Creek Constructors, a joint venture between J.D. Abrams, FCC Construccion, The Lane Construction Company and Shikun & Binui; and
  • Zachry-Odebrecht Parkway Builders, a joint venture comprised of Zachry Construction Corporation and Odebrecht Construction Inc.

Zachry-Odebrecht Parkway Builders was determined to be the apparent best value proposer and conditionally awarded the design-build and capital maintenance agreements. The best value selection criteria included price, technical and schedule scores. According to the RFP, TxDOT's construction cost estimate exclusive of design was $1.160 billion. Zachry-Odebrecht's proposed design and construction price is $1,007,053,000, resulting in significant cost savings. In addition, Zachry-Odebrecht proposed the fastest schedule with completion approximately 7 months earlier than the outside deadline set by TxDOT.

The award to Zachry-Odebrecht is conditioned upon successful completion of negotiations and finalization of the agreements, as well as compliance with various legislative conditions to execution of the agreements. Commercial close is anticipated to occur at the end of the year.

Governor Perry Names Houghton to Chair Texas Transportation Commission

Ted Houghton is the new chair of the Texas Transportation Commission. Governor Rick Perry announced Houghton's appointment, effective October 7.  Houghton succeeds Deirdre Delisi, who recently resigned.  Delisi had served as chair since 2008.

Houghton was first appointed to the Commission in 2003 and was reappointed in 2009. A native of El Paso, Houghton is self-employed in the financial services industry. He is the first resident of El Paso to serve on the Commission.

"I'd like to thank Governor Perry for his trust in me to continue TxDOT down a path of responsiveness, change and modernization,” Houghton said.  “I look forward to leading the department as it becomes a better TxDOT, living up to the expectations of the Governor, the Legislature and our stakeholders.  Texas is a national leader in infrastructure and transportation system development, and I intend to reaffirm our place among the best, strongest and most innovative states as TxDOT delivers the projects the Legislature, our local partners and Texas motorists expect."

Houghton previously served on the School Land Board, the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board, El Paso's Rapid Transit Board, the board of directors of the El Paso Electric Company and as president of the Sun Bowl Association. He was also a member of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Committee.

TxDOT Names New Executive Director

At its first regular meeting since the retirement of Amadeo Saenz, Jr. at the end of August, the Texas Transportation Commission named its choice for his replacement.  Effective October 17, 2011, former Texas Secretary of State Phil Wilson began his new job as TxDOT’s 19th Executive Director.  Mr. Wilson comes to TxDOT from Luminant, a Dallas-based electric generation company, where he was the senior vice president of public affairs.

In addition to his position as Texas’ Secretary of State, Mr. Wilson’s history of public service includes time working for both former U.S. Senator Phil Gram and current Texas Governor Rick Perry.  He also served as the chairman of the Governor’s Competitiveness Council where he fostered ideas for improving the state’s economic position for continued long term success including proposals to re-examine public-private partnerships, expand inland ports, repair and maintain existing infrastructure and promote rail relocation efforts.

In 2009, Texas adopted new legislation removing the requirement that TxDOT’s executive director must be a professional engineer.  Mr. Wilson will be the first non-engineer to hold the position since the new law passed.

“I am honored to be selected as the next executive director of TxDOT.  This is an agency with a rich history in successfully building for our future with dedicated employees,” said Wilson.” I look forward to working with the agency, Commission, Legislature and local communities on the most efficient ways to build infrastructure for Texas.”

TxDOT Proposes Rail Division

At the June 2009 meeting of the Texas Transportation Commission, TxDOT Assistant Director Phil Russell provided a first look at a proposed Rail Division for TxDOT, focusing on both passenger and freight rail planning for the future.  If created, the new  Rail Division would have a Rail Division Director, with  four departments under that to-be-named person's purview including Operations, Railroad Crossings, Safety and Project Development.

Commissioners indicated that it would be a wise move to create a Rail Division.  Commissioner Bill Meadows voiced that "the Commission needs to take a leadership position on rail", citing that other states are far ahead of Texas on rail planning and development.

In July 2009, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials submitted seventeen preapplications to the Federal Railroad Administration for a variety of rail projects across the state.  The competitive grant program is a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and advances the Obama Administration’s vision for high-speed intercity passenger rail throughout the nation. In all, $8 billion in ARRA funds, in addition to a little over $90 million in FY 2008 and 2009 federal appropriations are available through this program.  To find out more, you can view a list of TxDOT’s proposed projects.