TxDOT's Hopmann: "It's a great time to be in the transportation industry"
HOUSTON, TX TxDOT will let more than $1.5 billion in highway projects throughout the next two months and approximately $10 billion worth of projects in the next two budget cycles, the agency's director of district operations told AGC of Texas members at the monthly luncheon Monday.
"It's an exciting time," Randy Hopmann, PE, told members. "It's a great time to be in the transportation industry, especially in the state of Texas."
The August letting will set a record with a $1.04 billion letting. It will mark the first time in state history that a highway letting will top $1 billion for a single month.
"We're pretty excited about what we've been able to accomplish, Hopmann said, noting TxDOT is laboring with 700 vacant positions.
Highway letting will increase substantially in the coming years because of Texas voter approval of Prop 1 (2014 election) and Prop 7 one year later. The first round of Prop 7 funding will flow to TxDOT in September 2018. The smaller Prop 1 measure (hinging on oil and gas production) has funded $3.4 billion worth of projects, including some to be let soon.
The veteran TxDOT leader brought optimism to the AGC luncheon: "I want to share what I think is really great news with the industry today," he said.
So far this year, low-bid contracts have save Texas taxpayers $303 million, Hopmann said. Those savings will be plowed back into additional highway projects.
TxDOT has awarded two Houston-area design-build projects and one in Dallas.
"We're proud of our alternative-delivery program," Hopmann said, calling it an important program for both TxDOT and the state with its ability to deliver $2.5 billion of highway projects.
The agency likely will award between 6 and 8 alternative delivery projects over the next two years. TxDOT staff is still discussing which of those projects should be funded.
Planning for the next two budget years remains preliminary, but TxDOT is looking at $4.9 billion and 648 projects for fiscal year 2018 and $5 billion and 740 projects for FY19, he said. Those figures do not include $573 million for 85 local projects in FY18 and $255 million for 42 local projects in FY19.
"Those numbers should go up a little bit," Hopmann said.
The TxDOT official apparently satisfied AGC members who were invited to ask questions. Not a single hand went up.