Three Takeaways: TREC Talks With NCTCOG’s Michael Morris

Oct 21, 2019 | Public Policy, TREC News

In the latest installment of our quarterly TREC Talks event series, Michael Morris, Director of Transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), joined members of TREC’s Public Policy Committee and Political Action Committee on October 7 to discuss the organization’s top priorities and important upcoming projects. For all the work still to be done, Dallas has a bright future, and with steady progress we’ll be connected in ways we’ve always dreamed.
What is NCTCOG’s Role?
The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is a regional council whose members (local governments) serve 16 counties by leading a vision to build and maintain their transportation systems throughout North Texas. The Dallas-Fort Worth population is expected to exceed 11 million people by 2045, so early planning is crucial in connecting our municipalities.
I-635/LBJ East (US 75 to I-30)
This $1.72 billion project, which will reconstruct and widen I-635 from US-75 to I-30 in Dallas County, has been fully funded and is ready to begin construction beginning early next year. Upgrades to the 11-mile stretch of highway between Dallas, Garland, and Mesquite has been said to be one of the most needed projects in North Texas. Improvements will feature optional toll lanes, expanded frontage roads, and additional all-purpose lanes. Construction is expected to be completed by 2024.
I-35E to US67 with Deck Park (Southern Gateway)
The $600-plus million project, which will reconstruct a large section of I-35 E and State Highway 67 near Downtown Dallas through Oak Cliff and includes a deck park a la Klyde Warren Park, is already underway and starting to see great progress, Morris said. According to Morris, one of the central themes to his approach centers around “building buildings on top of freeways” and “finding innovative funding solutions in modes of technology for transportation.” In applying this principle, Morris leveraged funding from the Texas Department of Transportation to save $100 million (6 percent in interest) and accelerate the project timeline by two years. Many believe the deck park can have a similar economic impact for the residents of Southern Dallas that Klyde Warren Park had in connecting Uptown and Downtown.
Other notable projects include the Dallas-Houston High-Speed rail, which is still in its planning phase, the DART D2 subway rail, and the futuristic Hyperloop, which is currently submitting test sites for track certification.