Since the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announced its intention to realign U.S. Highway 380 in Collin County and alleviate traffic congestion in an increasingly densely populated area, controversy sparked again and again. Home Owner Associations resisted the idea of having a highway cutting through their neighborhoods and residents, who could be forced to move to make room for a bypass, also pushed back.
Now, Collin County officials discovered the much-needed public funding for the project might end up paying for a project outside of North Texas.
"It's shocking quite frankly," McKinney Mayor George Fuller told CBS News. "This project is long overdue to divert funds from it for a project down in Houston. I think it's an HOV lane, and that is shortsighted, at best I can say." Fuller, who’s been pushing for an expansion on the highway since 2018, called the state of traffic on U.S. 380 a disaster for the community.
Since 2018, projections of population growth raised concerns among city officials across Collin County regarding traffic, and the TxDOT started planning for a major east-west artery in Northern Collin County that would accommodate the extra cars that they expected would clog country roads. The answer was to realign Hwy 380 and create a bypass, but the traffic congestion that seemed to be in the future has arrived and the project is nowhere near completion.
In February 2023, the TxDOT announced that once the environmental clearance is granted, U.S. 380 would be reconstructed to include six lanes in each direction, and the department would begin acquiring land and funds needed for the $630 million project. As reported by CBS News, local leaders were excited when the TxDOT proposed $610 million in state funding for the project, only for that excitement to fade away when they discovered $480 million of that budget could be used on another highway project not even in North Texas.
According to CBS News, the TxDOT insists the budget adjustment won’t have a noticeable impact on the Hwy 380 project. “Projects the size of the US 380 and Spur 399 corridors often take more than one UTP (Unified Transportation Program) update to receive full funding,” a department’s spokesperson saint in a statement provided to CBS News. “Project development efforts for the entire US 380 and Spur 399 corridors remain on schedule."
The department’s statement added that construction will only begin once all the land need is acquired and the money diverted can be restored next year. But local leaders don’t think that’s enough. Darrell Hale, the Collin County Commissioner for Precinct 3, told CBS News that the Collin County Commission is drafting a letter requesting that state transportation officials restore the funding, adding "I don't want to have my constituents suffering from this for an extra six months, an extra year, extra couple years."