Updates on the Texas Transportation Plan (TTP) for 2021-2022

TxDOT’s 2021-20215 Strategic Plan

The Texas Transportation Commission adopted the Texas Department of Transportation’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan on May 28, 2020. This plan will be a major reference that will guide the department’s decision-making processes over the next five years. It outlines the agency’s values, vision, mission, budget arrangement, goals, and a comprehensive action plan. 

The TxDOT 2021-2025 SP lists the following goals:

  • Promote Safety
  • Deliver the Right Projects
  • Focus on the Customer
  • Foster Stewardship
  • Optimize System Performance
  • Preserve Our Assets
  • Value Our Employees

Things of note mentioned in the plan include the Historically Underutilized Business Plan, a draft of the Statewide Capital Plan, the Workforce Development Plan, a list of identified issues regarding obstacles and redundancies as well as the summary of surveys conducted over the past year. The surveys of note are those concerning Employee Engagement as well as the Report on Customer Service.

Report on Customer Service Survey Results

The Report on Customer Service is a survey conducted as part of the strategic planning process. The Institute for Organizational Excellence was contracted to conduct a customer service survey on behalf of the Texas Department of Transportation. 

The survey was conducted from March 10 to 24, 2020. Out of approximately 46,800 customers in the total population, 2014 completed surveys were received for a total response rate of 10.6%. Of these respondents, 62.4% consider their overall experiences with the state highway as excellent or good. Overall, the Texas Department of Transportation was given a satisfaction score of 64.4%. This data will be used to determine how the TxDOT can better manage public relations.

Unified Transportation Plan Annual Update

Meanwhile, The Texas Department of Transportation presented their 2022 Unified Transportation Plan (UTP) at the June 30, 2021 Commission Meeting. The UTP is a 10-year plan which serves as a guideline for transportation work developments across Texas. It provides the framework on how funding for construction will be available for distribution over the next 10 years. It is updated annually and requires approval from the Texas Transportation Community prior to its publication. The framework provided by the UTP allows the TxDOT to work with the necessary point persons on high-priority transportation projects.

Developments in Emergency Operations

Both transportation plans have greatly influenced the recent developments in the Texas Department of Transportation’s Emergency Operations. These developments have helped maintain readiness for responding to all sorts of hazards, focusing primarily on imminent large-scale threats.

The TxDOT has doubled up on its efforts to serve its mandate of providing safe transportation options in emergency and disaster situations. This includes public assistance during evacuations or getting citizens home safely as well as debris removal and facility repairs. These developments have also allowed the TxDOT to provide courtesy patrols as well as essential needs (such as fuel and water) to keep traffic moving during evacuations. 

Technological advancements and procurements have also allowed the TxDOT to better inform the public of emergency situations. These include information dissemination through broadcast media, dynamic signage as well as updates through social media. Incident updates such as weather conditions, road closures, or even accidents can now be sent out much faster.

2021 Property Tax Rates in Austin, Texas

Having your own house to call home is often an aspiration a lot of people aim for and consider a milestone for success. It greatly helps to have your need for shelter covered by something you paid for through hard work. On top of the many comforts a home can provide, homeowners often find themselves with many expenses that greatly affect the sustainability and affordability of homeownership. When you’re living in a city like Austin, Texas, it helps to be properly informed on what you can expect to pay for when it comes to your property taxes.

What Is It Like Living in Austin?

The culture in Austin, Texas is deeply rooted in the many multi-generational families that have lived their lives within the city. It owes its unique charm to its citizens, both those residing here and those who have come and gone. 

With the rapid growth of the city, it has become a challenge to keep up with the financial demands of maintaining a home and the cost of living. Homeowners may find themselves pressured by real estate investors to relocate to a different neighborhood or even feel the strain that comes with maintaining or upgrading their home to make it a more sustainable place to live in.

Property Tax Rates

The state of Texas has some of the highest property tax rates in the country, ranking 3rd in the percentage of property value and 14th in median property tax. This is somewhat mitigated by relatively low sales taxes and the lack of state income taxes, which allow for a more affordable cost of living. This is because property taxes are being utilized as the main source of revenue to fund public services such as emergency responders, educational institutions, healthcare services, and road development. 

Austin itself is within the highest in Texas when it comes to the property tax rate, with the median property taxes paid coming to around $6600 annually. Note, however, that you can still get tax breaks and other benefits when you have solar or wind-powered energy devices on your property in order to lighten the financial load.

The Pandemic Effect

With the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic still causing concern all over the world, the government of Austin, Texas has made some adjustments in order to try and make the city affordable and sustainable for its constituents while still generating revenue to keep public services running. 

Currently, they are examining the potential impacts of increasing the rate of property tax by 8% in order to account for the losses due to the pandemic. To soften the blow to taxpayers, they have approved support for guaranteed income as well as allowing people with disabilities and those 65 years and older to take up to $113,000 off the appraised value of their home to lower the property tax they need to pay.

With these things in mind, whether as a longtime resident or a new homeowner moving into Austin, Texas, making a rough estimate for the cost of living and the necessary adjustments should help you manage your finances accordingly.