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AGC Roundup: Texas Transportation Commissioner outlines importance of joint effort in implementing congestion relief plan

Sep 12 2016

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Texas Transportation Commissioner outlines importance of joint effort in implementing congestion relief plan

Commissioner Bugg reminds AGC: "A plan without execution is just an hallucination."

Texas Transportation Commissioner J. Bruce Bugg Jr. mapped out the state's strategic plan for reducing traffic congestion while also emphasizing rural connectivity and safety Thursday during AGC's monthly membership lunch at the  Hyatt Hotel. 

The commissioner also appealed for the support from AGC of Texas members in meeting Gov. Greg Abbott's mandate to reduce the state's ever-increasing traffic congestion chokepoints. 

Gov. Abbott appointed the San Antonio-based commissioner to head up the effort to reduce traffic congestion, which is most severe in the state's largest metro areas: Dallas-Fort Worth; Houston; Austin; and San Antonio. Those five communities account for 65 percent of the state's population and 97 of the top 100 traffic chokepoints, according to a recent Texas Transportation Institute study. 

The congestion task force has been meeting monthly for nearly one year and includes 25 TxDOT executives and district engineers from those metropolitan areas. The task force is now ready for action, or, as Commissioner Bugg aptly noted: "A plan without execution is just an hallucination." 

The team began its mission by targeting priority projects, estimating the cost, establishing a reasonable construction timeline and identifying potential impediments, such as right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation. The Texas Clear Lanes initiative received $1.3 billion in February to launch the congestion reduction effort. 

"With the new funding, we need the AGC members help to execute. This is where you come in," Commissioner Bugg told AGC members, emphasizing their important and on-going partnership with TxDOT. 

"We need your help. We can't do this without you all," he said. 

The Texas Transportation Commission approved a $70 billion, 10-year Unified Transportation Program at its Aug. 25 meeting. 

** $24.2 billion has been allocated for maintenance, bridges and safety: "The first thing you do is take care of the assets you have," Commissioner Bugg said. 

** $6.6 billion will address rural connectivity projects. 

** $28.9 billion will address congestion. 

"If we don't address the big problems of today, they will just become bigger problems down the road," the commissioner said. "And that will negatively impact economic development and job growth." 

If not addressed, the state's population growth will seriously erode the ability of motorists and commerce to navigate through the urban areas. The state's population stood at 27.7 million people in early 2015. By 2050, state demographer Lloyd Potter projects the state's population will have soared to 54 million, Commissioner Bugg told AGC members: "That's a doubling in 35 years. Where are all those people going to go?" 

TxDOT and the state demographer's office have plotted that growth pattern. Unsurprisingly, the growth will show up in the five urban areas already burdened by excessive congestion. 

Austin and San Antonio will grow toward each other just as Dallas and Fort Worth have done in recent decades, Commissioner Bugg said, noting the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex areas will simply become even denser. 

Texans already are reacting to traffic congestion as reflected in highway funding ballot initiatives in 2014 and 2015. Nearly 80 percent of Texas voters supported Prop 1 in 2014 and more than 83 percent approved Prop 7 last year. 

"We all have a mandate from the Texas voters to address congestion," he said. "People are sick and tired of getting stuck in their car on I-35 and other congestion chokepoints around the state." 

That's why, he said,  Gov. Abbott has made congestion relief a top priority and state lawmakers responded to his call last year by increasing highway spending by $4 billion a year without raising taxes, fees, debt or adding toll roads. 

The congestion relief project now is under the supervision of Commissioner Bugg, a former Eagle Scout. He is also chairman, president and chief executive officer of Southwest Bancshares, Inc., a Texas bank holding company for The Bank of San Antonio, and chairman of The Bank of San Antonio; and chairman, president and chief executive officer of Texas Hill Country Bancshares, Inc., a Texas bank holding company for Texas Hill Country Bank. 

In addition, Bugg also serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Argyle Investment Co., L.L.C., a private investment firm. Bugg is chairman and trustee of The Tobin Endowment, a private charitable foundation, in San Antonio, Texas and chairman and co-founder of the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation, owner of the new $203 million Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio. Bugg currently serves as a member of the board of directors of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, the board of trustees of the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and chairman of the Endowment Investment Committee and a member of the board of directors of The Santa Fe Opera in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

"We have a big job ahead of us - and not only do we need to maintain our state highway system and our bridges and safety; not only do we need to have the rural connectivity - but the big job ahead of us is congestion relief in the state of Texas," he told the AGC audience. "Help us eradicate this congestion that we all hear so much about." 

Click HERE for Commissioner Bugg's power-point presentation.

Autographed Guitars at 2016 Scholarship Gala Live Auction

Aug 29 2016

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Each year we try to offer some new items on the live and silent auction blocks.  This year is no exception.  Take a look at the autographed guitars that will be auctioned off during the live auction portion of the 2016 AGC of Texas Scholarship Gala: 

Autographed Dwight Yoakum Guitar

 

Autographed by Dwight Yoakum at his performance at Nutty Brown Cafe in Dripping Springs, Texas.   

 

Donated by Mike Farr of Nutty Brown Cafe and Big Daddy's in Austin, Texas.  

 

 

 

 

Autographed Willie Nelson Guitar

Autographed 80th Birthday Guitar signed by Willie Nelson.  These guitars were only signed at one event celebrating Willie's birthday at The Backyard in Austin, Texas.  Signature was authenticated by PSA/DNA and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.  Guitar is one of only a few signed at the event for his 80th birthday.    Guitar was given to Lee and Phillip Taylor by Lukas Nelson and the Nelson Family. 

Donated by Lee and Phillip Taylor.  

Do you have an item you would like to donate?  Let us know!  If you would like us to buy your item and invoice you, simply put 'AGC BUY' on THIS FORM and we will get you squared away.  Thanks to everyone for all of their support!

AGC members get first crack at rare Asprey shotgun

Aug 26 2016

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King’s gift to Gen. Franks will benefit AGC Scholarships

AGC leaders have decided to keep a rare Asprey shotgun in the family by giving AGC members the first opportunity to bid on the gift from a king to a 4-star general.

The proceeds from the gift to AGC of Texas will benefit the Chapter’s Scholarship Fund.

The Asprey gun (one of only 152 made) was presented to Four-Star Gen. Tommy Franks by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain. The general served as commander of the U.S. Central Command and planned the Afghanistan and Iraqi invasions for the President George W. Bush Administration.

The general is a close friend of AGC Executive Vice President Tom Johnson as well as a friend of AGC of Texas. The general has put no restrictions on his gift. He simply wants to support AGC’s Scholarship Fund.

AGC will have the gun formally appraised and a net value will be established to act as the starting point for the bidding process.  It is the hopes of the Chapter that the gun remains within the AGC family.  However, if the net value (minimum bid) is not met at the Scholarship Gala Live Auction, the gun will be sold through a gun broker.  The same shotgun sold at Christie’s of London for roughly $120,000 in 2008.

The AGC Scholarship program has been blessed by the generosity of Gen. Tommy Franks. Through his act of kindness, the program will continue to flourish and support the future leaders of our industry.

The sixth annual AGC Scholarship Gala is scheduled for Oct. 5 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin. Neal McCoy will provide the entertainment this year.

AGC IN MOTION

Commissioner Bruce Bugg Jr. Smith & Co. Williams Brothers D.L. Lennon Capital Excavation A.L. Helmcamp Knife River Foremost Paving Preserve highway funding Sen. Nichols Chairman talks up toll roads
* For information/identity on any the above photos, please click on any of the photos.

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