Transportation planning is often a moving target. The City’s Development Services department uses the best data available on demographics and growth trends to plan far into the future, but these goals still must be revised and updated on a regular basis.
Victoria County’s long-range transportation goals are consolidated in the newly approved 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan. The local Metropolitan Planning Organization updates its long-range plan every five years to identify concrete goals and priorities and establish projects that will help fulfill those goals.
The MTP is crucial because federal funding relies on it. The plan is presented to the federal and state government as a guide to how we will use federal funding that comes our way. Without an MTP, there would be no federal funding received for Victoria.
Because the way we prioritize funding for transportation projects has such a big impact on our community, it’s important for us to get feedback during the development process. To that end, we posted the draft version of the MTP online in advance and opened it up for public comment. You may remember at the beginning of March, we hosted an open house and public hearing at the Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center to kick off the public comment period.
Soliciting feedback helps us stay aware of the needs and concerns of the community members we serve. For example, many residents suggested that we prioritize improving public transportation. We want to assure residents that Victoria Transit has received and will continue to receive some exciting improvements this fiscal year, including more staffing and vehicles and upgraded transit stops. More information can be found in the City’s March 2 blog post at www.victoriatx.org.
In the end, the MTP draft was approved without any substantial changes. We are excited about the goals outlined in the MTP, and we’re ready to move forward with improving transportation in Victoria for years to come.
One especially important project that is identified as a top priority for the first time is the Interstate Highway 69 Main Lanes project. We’ve completed several projects over the years aimed at bringing our section of U.S. Highway 59 up to interstate highway standards, such as converting frontage roads to a one-way design. When the time came to renew our long-range transportation plan, we knew we needed to take this opportunity to formally commit to a full-on interstate highway project.
One thing that’s interesting about the MTP is that although it outlines projects with detail and specificity, the goals that it addresses, such as safety and alleviation of congestion, are fairly broad and can have far-reaching impacts. For example, having a designated interstate highway in our city will play a great role in community development by attracting businesses and visitors to the area. It goes to show that transportation is about more than getting from point A to point B; it’s about improving quality of life for ourselves and future generations.
The 2045 MTP is available at www.victoriatx.org on the Victoria MPO homepage under Development Services in the Departments tab.
Maggie Bergeron is the planning administrator for the City of Victoria Development Services.