NTE Segments 3A & 3B Project Reaches Financial Close

The North Tarrant Express Segments 3A & 3B Project (Project) reached financial close earlier today.  The Project will provide over $1.5 billion of needed infrastructure to the Fort Worth area, as well as operations and maintenance over the next several decades.  The Project will expand Interstate 35W in north Fort Worth, one of the region’s top priorities for congestion relief.  Segments 3A and 3B are the primary focus of the North Tarrant Express Master Development Plan, and will add approximately 10 miles of I-35W to the North Tarrant Express project.

Pursuant to the agreement between TxDOT and NTE Mobility Partners Segments 3 LLC (Developer), which reached commercial close last March, Developer will design, build, operate and maintain Segment 3A - the portion of the road from I-30 to Loop 820.  TxDOT will build Segment 3B - the portion of the road from north of Loop 820 to U.S. 287 at an estimated cost of $234 million, prior to turning it over to Developer.  Developer will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the facility and will collect the tolls generated on the managed toll lanes of the facility until 2061.

Private funding for the project consists of a combination of a $531 million loan under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), $274 million in private activity bonds and approximately $430 million in private equity, totaling in excess of $1.2 billion.  The average interest rate on the private activity bonds (PABs) is 6.87% per annum, while the TIFIA interest rate is 3.84% per annum.  The underwriters for the PABs are JP Morgan Securities LLC, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, Barclays Capital Inc. and Estrada Hinojosa & Company, Inc.

Work under the agreement includes rebuilding existing lanes and adding two managed toll lanes in each direction of I-35W from north of Interstate 30 near downtown Fort Worth to the U.S. 287 split south of Alliance Airport.  Construction could begin by fall-2013 and be substantially completed by mid-2018.  The agreement for the NTE Segments 3A & 3B Facility is available on TxDOT’s website.

TxDOT Achieves Commercial Close on the $845 Million I-35E Managed Lanes Project

On May 17, 2013, the Texas Department of Transportation and AGL Constructors reached commercial close on the design-build and capital maintenance agreements for the I-35E Managed Lanes Project.  AGL Constructors is a joint venture comprised of Archer Western Contractors, LLC, Granite Construction Company and The LANE Construction Company. AGL Constructors was conditionally awarded the contract in December 2012, and was one of four teams the Texas Department of Transportation shortlisted for the project in early 2012.

The I-35E Managed Lanes Project is the first phase in a multi-phase program to relieve traffic congestion along an existing 28-mile corridor of I-35E in Dallas and Denton Counties. The scope of the $845 million design-build contract includes the design and construction of tolled managed lanes, general purpose lanes, collector-distributor roads and bridges. The scope of the capital maintenance agreement includes the optional long-term maintenance of the project’s managed lanes component.  The capital maintenance agreement consists of up to three optional five year terms.
 

Recognition for USA Infrastructure Continues to Grow on Global Stage

As the 2013 award season heats up for 2012 successes around the world, the juries are increasingly finding the US market hard to ignore. Infrastructure Journal and PPP Bulletin International, the two London-based media organizations that annually recognize top projects and industry organizations worldwide, have each announced their finalists for this year's best transportation transactions and firms. Focusing on public-private partnership projects as opposed to those mega-projects which are the subject of major design-build contracts, these organizations nevertheless both found much to honor during a standout period.

Infrastructure Journal has announced that the Virginia Department of Transportation's Downtown Tunnel/Midtown Tunnel/MLK Extension Project ("Midtown Tunnel") is one of four finalists for its Global Transport Deal of the Year, the third time in four years IJ has so recognized US projects, starting with the Texas Department of Transportation's North Tarrant Express, named the Global Transport Project of 2009 and finalist for the overall Global Infrastructure Project of that year; and the Florida Department of Transportation's I-595 Project, also a finalist for the 2009 Global Transport Project. For this year's awards, the publication reviewed more than 600 submissions and will announce the winner on April 17, 2013.

PPP Bulletin International has announced that the California Department of Transportation's Presidio Parkway Project, the Midtown Tunnel and VDOT's I-95 Express Lanes project are all among the finalists for its Best Transport Project of the Year. The publication will announce the winner on May 23, 2013.

We congratulate VDOT, Caltrans and their private partners for this well-deserved recognition.

TxDOT Executes Agreement for Grand Parkway Project

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) executed agreements on March 22 for the development of the SH 99 Grand Parkway project with Zachry-Odebrecht Parkway Builders, JV, a joint venture comprised of Zachry Construction Corporation and Odebrecht Construction Inc.  The agreements provide for the design, construction and long-term capital maintenance of the Grand Parkway project, a 38 mile, greenfield toll road in Houston.

Project Details

The high-priority project reaching final award consists of Segments F-1, F-2 and G of the Grand Parkway, part of a proposed 180+ mile highway, encircling the Houston area. The larger Grand Parkway has been shown on governmental planning documents since the early 1960's.  A few of the other segments of the Grand Parkway are being developed using traditional construction contracts. Segments D and E are currently under construction and Segment I-2 and portions of Segment D are already open to traffic. 

Procurement

In September 2012, 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. Zachry-Odebrecht's proposed design and construction price is $1.07 billion, including $30 million in options.TxDOT's construction cost estimate exclusive of design was $1.160 billion.  In addition, Zachry-Odebrecht proposed the fastest schedule at 842 days, which is 150 days earlier than the outside deadline set by TxDOT.  The award to Zachry-Odebrecht was conditioned upon successful completion of negotiations and finalization of the agreements, as well as compliance with various legislative conditions to execution of the agreements. The necessary approvals, including a determination of legal sufficiency from the Attorney General's office, were received by TxDOT earlier last week.

Financing

It is anticipated that approximately $3 billion in revenue bonds will be issued in connection with the financing for Segments E, F-1, F-2 and G of the Grand Parkway. In addition, TxDOT has applied for a TIFIA loan.  Financial close is anticipated to occur in May.

TxDOT Executes Agreement for North Tarrant Express Segments 3A & 3B

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials executed a Facility Agreement  with NTE Mobility Partners Segments 3 LLC (Developer) on March 1 for Segments 3A and 3B of the North Tarrant Express project in northeast Tarrant County.  The agreement provides for the expansion of Interstate 35W in north Fort Worth, one of the region’s top priorities for congestion relief.  Segments 3A and 3B are the primary focus of the North Tarrant Express Master Development Plan, and will add approximately 10 miles of I-35W to the North Tarrant Express project.

Pursuant to the Facility Agreement, the Developer will finance, design and build Segment 3A (the 6.5 mile portion of the road from I-30 to north of I-820) and TxDOT will build Segment 3B (the 3.3 mile section from north of I-820 to North Tarrant Parkway). The Developer will then be responsible for operation and maintenance of both segments, and will collect tolls generated on the managed toll lanes until 2061. Work under the agreement includes rebuilding existing lanes and adding two managed toll lanes in each direction of I-35W from north of Interstate 30 near downtown Fort Worth to the U.S. 287 split south of Alliance Airport.  Construction is expected to begin by mid-year and scheduled to be substantially completed by mid-2018.

The project will provide over $1.5 billion of needed infrastructure to the Fort Worth area, as well as operations and maintenance over the next several decades. The estimated funding sources for the project delivery include $270 million of private activity bonds,  $530 million subordinated Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan and a $440 million equity contribution from the Developer, as well as construction and funding commitments from TxDOT and the North Central Texas Council of Governments of $330 million.

The executed agreement for the NTE Segments 3A & 3B Facility is available on TxDOT’s website.

Developer Selected for TxDOT's IH 35E Managed Lanes Design-Build Project

On December 13, 2012, the Texas Transportation Commission conditionally awarded the design-build and capital maintenance agreements for the IH 35E Managed Lanes Project to AGL Constructors, a joint venture comprised of Archer Western Contractors, LLC, Granite Construction Company and The LANE Construction Company. AGL Constructors was one of four teams the Texas Department of Transportation shortlisted for the project earlier this year. The other proposer teams included:

  • Dallas to Denton Constructors, a joint venture comprised of Zachry Construction Corporation and SNC-Lavalin Transportation USA, Inc.
  • IH 35E Infrastructure, a joint venture comprised of Ferrovial Agromán S.A., Webber, LLC and Texas Sterling Construction Co.
  • Northern Link Constructors, a joint venture comprised of Fluor Enterprises, Inc., Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. and Kiewit Infrastructure South. Co.

All four shortlisted teams submitted technical and price proposals on November 12 and 19, respectively. AGL Constructors proposal was determined to offer the best value to the state of Texas based on price and various technical criteria. Final award to AGL Constructors 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 early next year.

The IH 35E Managed Lanes Project is the first phase in a multi-phase program to relieve traffic congestion along an existing 28-mile corridor of IH 35E in Dallas and Denton Counties. The scope of the design-build contract includes the design and construction of tolled managed lanes, general purpose lanes, collector-distributor roads and bridges. The scope of the capital maintenance agreement includes the optional long-term maintenance of the project’s managed lanes component.

A copy of TxDOT's press release can be found on the TxDOT website.

Sid Jiménez co-authored this entry. 
 

Texas' New P3 Toll Road Project Open to Traffic

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and SH 130 Concession Company have announced the opening of Central Texas' newest toll road on October 24.  SH 130 Segments 5&6 is a 41-mile extension of the existing 50-mile SH 130 toll system that currently connects Georgetown to South Austin.  The new toll road extension starts at Mustang Ridge, spanning three counties and ending at Interstate 10 near Seguin. 

The new toll road is entirely automated, and will be fully interoperable with the existing SH 130 toll system so that travel between various segments will be seamless.  The new roadway will operate without tolls until November 11, the anticipated date of Service Commencement.  Toll rates will initially be around 15 cents a mile for cars and two-axle trucks, and may be adjusted annually based on GDP increases.

SH 130 Segments 5&6 is the State's first toll road concession, developed and constructed over the past six years through a public-private partnership with the SH 130 Concession Company.  The new toll road represents a $1.3 billion private investment in the state's transportation system, and also provides the state with a share of the toll revenues to be used for other regional mobility improvements.

Texas Department of Transportation Has Reached Tentative Deal to Expand I-35W

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has reached a tentative, $1.6 billion deal with a private developer to expand Interstate 35W in north Fort Worth.  According to a report released by TxDOT in late August, the stretch of I-35W in northern Tarrant County that is the subject of the agreement is the most congested roadway in the state - causing motorists to collectively waste more than 2 million hours.  The deal between TxDOT and the developer, an affiliate of the entity that is currently developing the $2.5 billion North Tarrant Express project in northeast Tarrant County, will add approximately 10 miles of I-35W to the North Tarrant Express work. 

Pursuant to the agreement, the developer will design, build, operate and maintain Segment 3A - the portion of the road from I-30 to Loop 820. TxDOT will build Segment 3B - the portion of the road from north of Loop 820 to U.S. 287 at an estimated cost of $234 million, prior to turning it over to the developer.  The developer will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the facility and will collect the tolls generated on the managed toll lanes of the facility until 2061.

There are a number of sources of funding for the project.  According to TxDOT, the North Central Texas Council of Governments has committed $89.5 million, as well as a possible additional $40.5 million for project contingencies.  The U.S. Transportation Department has invited the developer to apply for a federal loan of up to $537 million under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA).  The developer will contribute $273 million in private activity bonds and $446 million in equity to the project. 

Work under the agreement includes rebuilding existing lanes and adding two managed toll lanes in each direction of I-35W from north of Interstate 30 near downtown Fort Worth to the U.S. 287 split south of Alliance Airport.  The parties intend to execute the agreement by early 2013 and the construction could begin by mid-2013 and be substantially completed by mid-2018.  The draft agreement for the NTE Segments 3A & 3B Facility is available on TxDOT’s website

Fred Kessler co-authored this entry.

Shortlist Announced for TxDOT's IH 35E Managed Lanes Design-Build Project

On April 26, 2012, the Texas Department of Transportation (“TxDOT”) announced the shortlist for the proposed IH 35E Managed Lanes Project in Dallas and Denton Counties.  The shortlisted teams were selected based on qualification statements submitted on March 23, 2012 in response to the request for qualifications (“RFQ”) issued by TxDOT on January 23, 2012.

The RFQ solicited separate qualification statements from teams with experience in design-build and toll concession contracting.  TxDOT decided to move forward with the design-build alternative with a capital maintenance option.  The four shortlisted teams and their respective equity members are:

AGL Constructors
-  Archer Western Contractors, LLC
-  Granite Construction Company
-  The LANE Construction Company

Dallas to Denton Constructors
-  Zachry Construction Corporation
-  SNC-Lavalin Inc.

IH 35E Infrastructure
-  Ferrovial Agromán S.A.
-  Webber, LLC
-  Texas Sterling Construction Co.

Northern Link Constructors
-  Fluor Enterprises, Inc.
-  Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc.
-  Kiewit Infrastructure South. Co.

IH 35E serves the rapidly growing areas of southern and central Denton County, as well as major Dallas suburbs.  Since it opened as part of the original national interstate program almost 50 years ago, the northern portion of the corridor has been under a constant state of maintenance, upgrade, expansion, evaluation, planning, design and construction.

On February 23, 2012, TxDOT announced the shortlist for the Grand Parkway Project Design-Build Project and on March 29, 2012, TxDOT announced the shortlist for the Horseshoe Design-Build Project.

Sid Jiménez co-authored this entry.

TxDOT Announces Short List of Teams for Horseshoe Design-Build Contract

On Dec. 9, 2012, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) soliciting qualifications from teams interested in entering into a design-build contract and a potential capital maintenance agreement for the Dallas Horseshoe Project.  Following a three-month process, which included questions and answers from interested industry participants, TxDOT received seven Qualification Statemelnts on Feb. 22, 2012.  Over the next month, the Qualification Statements were evaluated by TxDOT.  On March 29, 2012, TxDOT announced the short list of the teams most qualified to compete for the Horseshoe design-build contract.  Below is a listing of the shortlisted teams, along with the major equity members, that will be invited to submit detailed proposals.

Name Major Equity Members
Dallas Horseshoe Solutions Granite Construction Company
CH2M Hill Engineers, Inc.
Traylor Bros., Inc.
NorthGate Horseshoe Constructors JV Kiewit Infrastructure Group, Inc.
Zachry Construction Corporation

Pegasus Link Constructors

Fluor Enterprises, Inc. (Fluor)
Balfour Beatty Infrastructure (BBII)

TxDOT anticipates issuing an Industry Review draft Request for Proposals in April 2012 and the final Request for Proposals in early July, with the expectation that a design-build contract can be executed with the best value proposer in winter 2012-13. 

Aptly dubbed the “Horseshoe Project” due to its U-shape, the $818 million highway project will upgrade the I-30 bridge, part of the Mixmaster, and both the north and southbound I-35E bridges in one of the most congested areas in downtown Dallas. TxDOT has concluded that the use of the design-build development approach is the best way to ensure cost-effective and expedited delivery of this project and provide needed congestion relief to the public, while addressing safety and traffic congestion concerns.

This is one of several active “mega” design/build projects being pursued by TxDOT, including the Grand Parkway in the Houston area.

TxDOT Issues Request for Qualifications for US$4.4 Billion IH 35E Managed Lanes Project

On January 23, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) soliciting qualifications from private developers interested in entering into a design-build contract and capital maintenance agreement and/or a toll concession agreement for the IH 35E Managed Lanes Project. The RFQ provides prospective developers the opportunity to submit qualifications for one or both of the two public-private partnership (P3) methods. Qualification submittals for the project are due March 23, 2012.   

IH 35E serves the rapidly growing areas of southern and central Denton County, as well as major Dallas suburbs. Since it opened as part of the original national interstate program almost 50 years ago, the northern link of the corridor has been under a constant state of maintenance, upgrade, expansion, evaluation, planning, design, and construction.    

The goal of the proposed $4.4 billion high-priority project is to rebuild the 28-mile section of IH 35E from IH 635 in Dallas County to US 380 in Denton County, and provide managed lanes that feature dynamic pricing to keep traffic moving at 50 mph. Almost $600 million in funding has been identified, with most coming from $535 million in regional toll revenue funds dedicated to Denton County.

TxDOT received authority from the 82nd Texas Legislature under Senate Bill 1420 to develop the IH 35E Managed Lanes Project and 10 other specific projects using P3s. The Texas Transportation Commission authorized TxDOT to issue an RFQ for the Project on Sept. 29, 2011. 

Texas Transportation Commission Authorizes RFQ for Horseshoe Project

At its October 27 meeting, the Texas Transportation Commission approved the issuance of a request for qualifications for the Horseshoe Project in Dallas County.  The project will be the first under new design-build legislation passed by the Texas legislature during the 2011 session.  Subchapter F, Chapter 223, of the Transportation Code prescribes the process by which the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) may enter into a design-build contract with a private entity that provides for the design, construction, expansion, extension, related capital maintenance, rehabilitation, alteration, or repair of a highway project. Transportation Code §223.242 authorizes TxDOT to enter into, in each fiscal year, up to three design-build contracts for highway projects with estimated construction costs of $50 million or more.

The Horseshoe Project is part of the larger Project Pegasus, a $2.1 billion (construction only) project in downtown Dallas on two major interstates, I-35E and I-30.   All four legs of Project Pegasus are on the list of 2011 Top 100 Most Congested Roadways in the State of Texas.  The Horseshoe Project will replace two key bridges and connecting roadways crossing the Trinity River at I-30 and I-35E, as well as upgrading outdated roadway geometry.  The estimated construction cost of the Horseshoe Project is $800 million. 

The Horseshoe Project is one of several major new design-build projects in the United States, including the Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement project in Long Beach, Calif., VTA’s BART Berryessa extension project in the Silicon Valley, and New York's Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project, which is one of 14 projects chosen by the Obama administration for expedited federal review and approval.

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.”

ARTBA Awards TxDOT P3 Deal of the Year and Amadeo Saenz Entrepreneur of the Year

Producing ground breaking advancements in transportation infrastructure is not without its challenges, highlighting the importance of celebrating each success. Today our client, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the organization’s Executive Director, Amadeo Saenz, are being recognized for their paradigm shifting approach to building roads.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) is holding their 22nd Annual Public Private Partnerships in Transportation Conference in the nation’s capital. In what is being called a sweep, TxDOT has been awarded “P3 Project of the Year” for both the North Tarrant Express and the LBJ-635 Express projects, and Amadeo Saenz has been awarded “Public Sector Entrepreneur of the Year.” Cintra’s U.S. President, Nicolas Rubio, was awarded “Private Sector Entrepreneur of the Year.”

A well-respected organization established in 1902, ARTBA is the oldest national transportation construction-related association and the first to articulate a need for a federally-built network of Interstate highways. For 21 years the organization has assembled leaders in the transportation industry at this annual conference to discuss key transportation issues, including the private financing of transportation infrastructure projects.

Financing Completed for the Largest U.S. Greenfield Transportation P3 Deal of All-time

On June 22, 2010 the Texas Department of Transportation’s I-635 project became the first U.S. highway public-private partnership (P3) to achieve financial close in 2010. LBJ Infrastructure Group - a Cintra-led consortium - will build, finance, maintain and operate a 17-mile corridor which includes managed lanes in the congested Dallas-Fort Worth area. This project along with the North Tarrant Express (NTE), one of three U.S. transportation P3s to close in 2009, are nationally significant for advancing the use of managed lanes to address congestion.

The projects are notable not only for their magnitude and the method in which they will be developed, but also for their unique tolling and financial characteristics. Specific precedent setting-features include:

  • The projects are valued as the largest transportation greenfield P3 projects in the United States and include construction costs of $2.7 billion for the I-635 and $2 billion for the NTE.
  • The projects confirm the importance of Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and private activity bonds (PABs) as financing mechanisms. The I-635 includes the largest amount of PABs for a U.S. toll road concession. The TIFIA loans of $850 million for I-635 and $650 million for NTE are the second and third largest to close.
  • The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System is an equity partner in the private developer for both projects, making it the first pension fund to invest directly in infrastructure development in the U.S.
  • They are the first two projects to obtain federal tolling authorization under the United States Department of Transportation’s Express Lanes Demonstration Program.
  • To the extent that toll revenues exceed specified levels, the private developer will share up to 75% of the excess toll revenues with the Texas DOT.

The I-635 and NTE validate toll concession P3s as a viable method for delivering needed transportation projects in the United States.  For example, with the I-635, Texas DOT was able to leverage $489 million in public funds to deliver a project worth over $4 billion including costs for design, construction, operations and maintenance.  If past is prologue, the P3 market can expect more P3 toll concessions, as well as managed lanes projects, in the future.

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.