The North Houston Association had the honor of hosting TxDOT’s newest Transportation Commissioner & President of NewQuest Properties, Steve Alvis, for our first luncheon of the year. The event was aptly named, The Nexus Between Development & Transportation, as Commissioner Alvis is uniquely poised to speak on the intersection between the two industries.

Board Vice Chair, and Director of Business Development at Pape-Dawson Engineers, Kim Sachtleben, P.E., moderated the discussion. She opened with asking if Alvis thought there were any specifically impacted sectors or industries that have grown or inversely been limited due to improved transportation connectivity. Spotlighting the fact that infrastructure will always drive economic development, Alvis gave detailed examples on the impacts of some of our locally affected industries. Completion of The Grand Parkway’s Segments F-1 and F-2 resulted in the relocation of Exxon’s campus to Springwoods Village, as well as Daikin’s construction of the largest north American tilt-wall facility in Waller County.

These and many more improvements to infrastructure have spurred growth in our region that has allowed Texas to have a surplus budget of $40 billion while other states suffer a deficit. “Texas is really, really lucky to have the surplus we have, and it’s evident our economy is thriving when you compare us to the rest of the nation’s states, ” echoed Commissioner Alvis.

Alvis then shared that Governor Abbott appointed him to a new Economic Development and Customer Service Task Force aimed at bringing Texas’ economy from 8th to 5th largest in the world. He indicated to the group the importance of being shovel ready to build roads so we can remain a top pick for national creditors and relocating companies. TxDOT currently has $35 billion of construction projects underway, many including drainage projects in the North Houston region.

Alvis highlighted the impact county commissioners have with regard to project funding, and also stated that within TxDOT, senior District Engineers must be empowered to make decisions that speed up the process.

Commissioner Alvis wrapped up the discussion by touching on the topics of multimodal and transit solutions as well as the integration of smart infrastructure and freight projects.