June 16, 2016 (Arlington, Texas) – Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen has been elected chair of the Regional Transportation Council, the transportation policymaking body for the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Jensen will lead the 44-member RTC for the next year, which will include the 85th Texas Legislative Session.
Jensen assumes the leadership of the RTC from Parker County Judge Mark Riley, who served as chair over the past year. Cedar Hill Mayor Rob Franke is the new vice chair, while Tarrant County Commissioner Gary Fickes assumes the role of secretary.
As the transportation policymaking body for the 12-county Dallas-Fort Worth area, the RTC oversees transportation planning for the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country, which has a current population of about 7 million people. The RTC guides the development of roadway, rail and bicycle-pedestrian plans and programs; allocates transportation funds; and recommends projects to the Texas Transportation Commission for other programs.
The RTC also ensures transportation services are coordinated throughout the region and the metropolitan area complies with air quality regulations. Ten Dallas-Fort Worth area counties (Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise) are in nonattainment for ozone and are working toward meeting the federal standard.
Jensen first served on the RTC from 2003 to January 2013, when he was a member of the Grand Prairie City Council. In June 2013, after being elected mayor, he rejoined the policymaking body, on which he has served continuously for the past three years.
He has been active in city and regional transportation issues and represented the city on the State Highway 360 task force, which assists the Texas Department of Transportation and North Texas Tollway Authority in the delivery of the extension of SH 360 south to US Highway 287.
The 9.7-mile project includes the expansion of the SH 360 main lanes from Sublett Road/Camp Wisdom Road in southern Tarrant County to US 287 in northwestern Ellis County and northeastern Johnson County. Construction of this stretch in a fast-growing area of the region has long been a priority for the RTC and is now expected to be complete in late 2017.
The legislative session begins in January 2017, and under Jensen’s leadership, the RTC will look to build on the transportation successes of the past two sessions. Any additional funding will help NCTCOG and its partners continue to improve the multimodal transportation system for the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which is expected to welcome more than 3.5 million new residents by 2040, pushing its population to 10.7 million.
Franke and Fickes are also long-time members of the RTC, having served since 2008 and 2010, respectively. The newly elected officers will serve through June 2017.
About the North Central Texas Council of Governments:
NCTCOG is a voluntary association of local governments established in 1966 to assist local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit and coordinating for sound regional development. NCTCOG’s purpose is to strengthen both the individual and collective power of local governments and to help them recognize regional opportunities, eliminate unnecessary duplication and make joint decisions.
NCTCOG serves a 16-county region of North Central Texas, which is centered on the two urban centers of Dallas and Fort Worth. Currently, NCTCOG has 238 member governments including
16 counties, 169 cities, 22 school districts and 31 special districts. For more information on the NCTCOG Transportation Department, visit NCTCOG.org/trans.
About the Regional Transportation Council:
The Regional Transportation Council (RTC) of the North Central Texas Council of Governments has served as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for regional transportation planning in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1974. The MPO works in cooperation with the region’s transportation providers to address the complex transportation needs of the rapidly growing metropolitan area. The Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area includes Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise counties. The RTC’s 44 members include local elected or appointed officials from the metropolitan area and representatives from each of the area’s transportation providers. More information can be found at NCTCOG.org.