• Transportation and Economic Development

Transportation Commissioner Alex Meade

The Texas Department of Transportation is the state’s most important economic development entity. That was a key message delivered by Alex Meade, a member of the Texas Transportation Commission since April, speaking at the Alliance for I-69 Texas 2023 Annual Meeting on Nov. 30 in Houston.

Meade has spent most of his professional career working in economic development and public service jobs and now serves as the executive vice president for Texas Regional Bank where he manages their public policy strategy and economic development.

“Transportation is economic development. The state looks at TxDOT as an economic development engine, not just as an entity that builds roads, and TxDOT is the most important economic development entity that we have in the state of Texas,” he said.

Meade is from Mission in the Lower Rio Grande Valley at the southern end of the multi-state Interstate 69 corridor.   He stressed the importance of I-69 development in Texas noting that a significant amount of the state’s future population growth will take place along the I-69 System running from South Texas to Houston and on north to Texarkana following the path of US 59.

He recalled participating in the 2011 ceremonies in Robstown celebrating the signing of the very first section of I-69 in Texas.  He was serving as city manager of the City of Pharr at the time and was a member of the I-69 Alliance Board of Directors.

He noted that as city manager part of his job was to help bring new jobs to the community.  To recruit companies a city must have connectivity, and while his city had many positives that attract jobs, it did not have a connection to the Interstate System.

Meade stressed that TxDOT and local communities must work together to get highway connectivity projects done.  He said members of the Transportation Commission are all aligned in making sure they move projects forward.  He encouraged cities and counties to invest their money and do what they can to get projects through the long pre-construction process. 

He said the big question facing TxDOT is how the state is going to accommodate rapid population and traffic growth.  Part of the solution is to get projects built quicker.  The Commission has formed a task force headed by new Commissioner Steven Alvis to evaluate ideas on how the department can make the process move faster.

Meade has made it a goal to visit all of TxDOT’s 25 districts during his first year on the commission and he reported that he is about halfway through that extremely valuable journey. 

One thing he has learned in his travels across our big state is that “while everybody thinks TxDOT has a lot of money, we don’t have enough money” to meet all the needs for new capacity and system preservation.

A special thanks to our Annual Meeting sponsors including Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority, Port of Corpus Christi Authority, Killam Company, LJA Engineering, Wharton EDC, El Campo City Development Corp., TexAmericas Center, DEC Engineering, GDJ Engineering and our event partner, the Greater Houston Partnership.