Local transportation officials argued that infrastructure needs did not diminish with the plummet in oilfield activity during the annual meeting of the Midland-Odessa Transportation Alliance on Thursday.
“The transportation needs are as great as ever,” said Trey Crutcher, MOTRAN’s chairman. “There are a lot of people in these communities, staying here.”
MOTRAN is funded by the cities of Odessa and Midland to push for regional transportation improvements, which also includes efforts like expanding the border crossing and international bridge in Presidio and the South Orient Rail bridge in hopes of shoring up a trade corridor with Mexico.
After years of strain on local roadways, 2015 saw a series of major infrastructure developments for the Odessa and Midland region.
The Texas Department of Transportation’s Odessa District, for example, awarded some $190 million toward contracts for regional roadway improvements — nearly four times what the district lets in a typical year. Among those projects, funded after the passage of Proposition 1, were major investments in State Highways 349 and 158.
“I don’t know that we will ever catch up to the growth of Midland and Odessa,” said Mike McAnally, district engineer for the TxDOT’s Odessa District. He said the district is trying to recover from the boom.
This year, MOTRAN successfully fought for an updated traffic study by TxDOT and the local planning organization, MOTOR MPO, that MOTRAN President James Beauchamp said should help bring in up to $6.5 million for the MPO and better guide infrastructure development.