Section 27: Category 13C - NAFTA Discretionary/Border Trade Transportation Projects

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This category is to address demands on the transportation infrastructure in border area districts because of projected increases in international trade resulting from the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

This category is one of the most flexible and unique among TxDOT’s funding categories. In 1995, the Texas Transportation Commission established the NAFTA Discretionary category as a state-funded allocation program. Annual funding levels were established and the border districts utilized the funds, with concurrence of the MPO as appropriate. Currently, projects exist that have been developed under the allocation program method. These projects are valid projects and have funds committed against them that reflect the Commission’s intent to continue development through contract letting.

In October 1999, the Border Trade Transportation Task Force recommended to the Commission that future NAFTA Discretionary projects be listed in TxDOT’s Unified Transportation Program (UTP), and be designated as Border Trade Transportation Projects. The UTP is a ten-year prioritized plan for transportation project development where projects can be more effectively streamlined and coordinated. The current projects that are being developed under the project specific method are listed and prioritized in the most recent UTP. Until the last NAFTA Discretionary allocation program lapses at the end of Fiscal Year 2006, TxDOT will be tracking both methods of developing and funding these high priority border programs.

The funding source could be 100 percent state funds or a combination of 80 percent federal/20 percent state funding depending upon availability of resources.

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Projects must be NAFTA related and on the state highway system.

All projects must be developed in accordance with applicable state environmental requirements. All projects must be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained in accordance with state laws, regulations, directives, safety standards, design, and construction standards. Projects in this category must have the concurrence of the MPO if located in its area of jurisdiction.

Projects that are located within an air quality non-attainment area may need to be included in the Transportation Improvement Program of the MPO.

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Project Selection

The Commission approves projects selected for this category. Projects considered for this category are evaluated and recommended through the consensus of representatives from the TxDOT border districts (El Paso, Laredo, and Pharr).

The NAFTA Discretionary program is a district-controlled allocation program with the districts selecting the projects.

The Border Trade Transportation projects are selected by TxDOT border districts through coordinated discussion and consensus building.

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Projects are evaluated based on identified need.

Match for preliminary engineering, construction, and right-of-way purchase/utility adjustments will be in accordance with TxDOT’s Policy for Matching Funds – Participation Ratios.

Levels of authorization are assigned to the projects selected for development as follows:

  • Priority 1 – Projects authorized for PS&E completion, utilities adjustments, and construction within the next four fiscal years.
  • Priority 2 – Projects authorized for PS&E preparation and right-of-way acquisition.
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