The Texas economy is dependent on the rural transportation system to bring goods to market for in-state, national and international consumption. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) indicates that rural transportation in Texas includes 56,972 miles of interstate, U.S. highways, state highways and farm-to-market roads. It also includes 6,819 miles of rail, most of the state’s 255 general aviation airports, public transit systems, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
Highways: Texas has nearly 57,000 centerline miles of state highway in rural areas. The heart of that system is the 50,000 farm to market roads around the state. These roadways are economic engines, allowing everyone from farmers to manufacturers to move their goods to market.
Rail: A majority of all rail in the state is in rural areas. Railroads provide a more affordable and efficient option for transporting goods than do trucks and serve as a catalyst for economic activity in rural areas. In fact, petroleum companies are locating trans-loading facilities along rail lines in rural areas as close to the oil fields as possible in order to reduce trucking costs.
Aviation: With a state as big as Texas, aviation has a unique role in connecting communities and commerce. TXDOT administers over $85 million in federal grants to airports, with most being in rural areas.
Public Transportation: State support for transit account for about $30 million each year. There are 39 rural transit districts in the state and are mostly used to transport residents to work, education, healthcare and recreation.