Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Katy Freeway Ribbon Cutting

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Monday, June 26, 2006  •  Speech

Thank you Commissioner Johnson.  I am honored to be here today with Congressman Culberson, whose work in Washington helped accelerate the massive Katy Freeway expansion project. 

It is good to see local elected officials like Senator Gallegos, Representative Callegari and Katy Mayor Doyle Callender, each of whom know the importance of getting traffic moving.

Usually, when the subject of road construction comes up, you can feel people’s blood pressure start to rise. 

But I have to say, I have never heard more positive feedback about a road construction project than what I have heard from people in West Houston and Harris County concerning the Katy Freeway expansion.

That’s because people can see progress by the day, and only three years into this project, nearly ten miles of expanded freeway is now open to the public. 

This is a tremendous accomplishment that is a credit to an innovative approach that involves a mixture of federal, state and toll revenue dollars to accelerate construction and completion of this much needed widening.

From the Fort Bend County line to just west of State Highway 6, capacity on I-10 is now greatly expanded, making it a safer highway, and a friendlier commute during rush hour. 

When the entire project is done in a couple years, it will not only cut down on congestion and accidents, it will help reduce pollution from idling vehicles, expand the local economy and provide a more efficient corridor for hurricane evacuations.

In the past, this type of project would have taken more than a decade, not less than six years. 

But we are doing things differently. 

By leveraging toll revenues in addition to gas tax dollars, we have infused this project with funding up front rather than building it one piece at a time as state and federal revenues become available.

And as the maintenance demands of the existing highway system in Texas utilize almost all state gas tax dollars, it is clear we have to look to other sources of funding to keep up with growth so we can expand highways and build needed new ones.

No state in the nation is laying as much asphalt as Texas, as we build critically needed capacity from El Paso to Beaumont so Texans spend fewer time stuck in traffic and more time with their friends and loved ones.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta, who recently came to Texas before resigning on Friday, said our method for financing new transportation construction is a model for the nation. 

Instead of waiting on Washington to give us our fair share of highway funding, or raising the gas tax, we are leveraging the resources of the private sector to build roads faster and sooner, allowing Texans the choice of driving roads funded by tax dollars, or new ones funded by tolls. 

Texas is serious about building additional highway capacity, and the Katy Freeway expansion is exhibit A in that quest. 

This massive construction and jobs project is about restoring sanity, opportunity and a better quality of life to those who depend on this highway to move their products and families safely. 

Thank you.

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