Texas Governor Rick Perry's recent "Trans Texas Corridor" proposal calls for a 4000-mile system of rail lines, freeways, and utility routes crossing the state. A comparison of the conceptual map and the I-69 corridor through the state suggests a great deal of overlap. This raises the question: how compatible are I-69 and the TTC system?
The idea of innovative financing for highway projects is not all that new, although Texas is the first state to try it on such a massive scale. The Intermodal Surface Transportation Enhancement Act of 1991 and its successors have encouraged states to leverage federal and state funds with private financing, but few states have done so. The TTC proposal makes I-69 an ideal test case for these approaches.
Perhaps the best way forward is to incorporate I-69 and its various spur routes into the TTC corridors that it overlaps, while at the same time working to improve existing routes along the I-69 corridor as connectors to the TTC system. The major sections of I-69 could be constructed as toll-free routes along the relevant TTC corridor segments, while the outer loop around Houston would be a feasible toll alternative for through I-69 traffic, and perhaps even be signed as the preferred I-69 route. The Houston bypass route could be "congestion-priced" based on congestion within the loop along U.S. 59: through traffic using the loop would receive a discount during peak travel times, or when pollution levels are high.
Back to I-69.