Chapter 2: Ports

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Section 1: Overview

Value of Texas Ports

Texas maritime ports are important economic generators for the state. In 2007, Texas maritime ports moved over 490 million tons, generating over $135 billion in economic activity and approximately $5 billion in various tax revenues.

TxDOT’s Traditional Role - Roadside Infrastructure

The role of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in planning and investing in the maritime ports and waterway system has traditionally been to coordinate roadside infrastructure improvements with capacity investments being made by Texas maritime ports. The goal has been to ensure that critical landside transportation infrastructure – such as an intermodal connector between a maritime port and a major highway – keeps up with the maritime port throughput capacity.

TxDOT’s primary offices of responsibility for roadside infrastructure improvements include TxDOT’s East Regional Support Center, South Regional Support Center, Beaumont District Office, Houston District Office, Yoakum District Office, Corpus Christi District Office, and Pharr District Office. For project or planning information, refer to the Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan 2035, Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, or the Unified Transportation Program.

TxDOT’s Expanded Role - Marine Port Program

TxDOT’s marine port program has evolved over time. The Texas Ports Association (TPA), an association of public and private shallow and deep draft ports that promotes the interests of Texas maritime ports, has initiated various changes to TxDOT’s traditional highway transportation role to include activities associated with maritime ports. At the urging of TPA, in 1997 the 75th Texas Legislature created the Port Authority Advisory Committee (PAAC) to advise the Texas Transportation Commission (commission) on matters relating to ports.

In 2001, TPA worked with the 77th Texas Legislature who passed Senate Bill 1282 to amend the Transportation Code by adding Chapter 55, “Texas Port Transportation and Economic Development Funding.” The Texas Department of Economic Development became responsible for working with Port Authority Advisory Committee to implement this chapter.

In 2003, in cooperation with TPA, the 78th Texas Legislature renamed Chapter 55, ”Funding of Port Security, Projects, and Studies” and transferred the duties associated with Chapter 55 to TxDOT. The following process and procedure tables depict the duties and responsibilities of marine staff within TxDOT’s Transportation Planning and Programming Division ( TPP) regarding support of the department’s maritime port program.

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