By Mitch Borden
The Texas Department of Transportation recently finalized and approved its Unified Transportation Plan, which lays out the funding for Texas roads for the next decade. This had Permian Basin leaders and businesses celebrating because, on top of the region receiving over a billion dollars for road construction and maintenance, it will also get a bonus on top of its normal funding numbering in the hundreds of millions.
The reason for this is simple, the region’s seen an explosion in traffic over the last decade as the shale revolution hit the Permian Basin. 18-wheelers carrying sand, water, and oil are central to oil and gas extraction sites using hydraulic fracking. The Permian Basin, currently, is the capital for these kinds of operations in the country and as more rigs have sprung up across the region, increased truck traffic has taken its toll on the area’s roads. Espcially since the area’s infrastructure was not designed for this kind of use.
Also, as West Texas highways have gotten more beat up and filled with commercial traffic its also become more dangerous. The Texas Department of Transportation estimated that in 2017, around 11 percent of traffic accidents in Texas occurred in the Permian Basin even though it’s home to only 2 percent of the state’s population.
That’s one of the reasons Texas Department of Transportation recently allocated about an extra $600 million to the region to help with more road construction and maintenance projects that, many believe, will help save lives. The additional funds allocated for the West Texas oil patch will be spread out over the next two years.