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75th Anniversary

75th Anniversary Timeline: Travel

Highlighting events and milestones through the years that coincide with Texas Co-op Power’s 75 years of publication

Travel around, over and into Texas has marked many milestones in the 75 years since Texas Co-op Power debuted in July 1944. Here are just a few:

1945: The Texas Aeronautics Act establishes the Texas Aeronautics Commission as a nonfederal public entity that oversees civilian flying.

1947: The Spruce Goose, a creation of eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes of Houston and the largest wooden airplane ever constructed, makes its first and only flight.

Robert Dammerich Photography Inc. | Getty Images

1954: General Motors opens its Arlington Assembly Plant, which is still in operation today, on 250 acres.

1956: The world’s first oceangoing container ship, the SS Ideal X, is unloaded at the Port of Houston after its maiden voyage, from Newark, New Jersey.

1957: The first major toll road in Texas, 30 miles between Dallas and Fort Worth, opens, charging 50 cents.

1959: Construction begins on I-10, the longest in Texas, which runs 879 miles between El Paso and Orange.

1959: The Acres Homes Transit Company northwest of Houston becomes the first bus franchise in the South owned and operated by African Americans.

1963: The state creates the Texas Tourist Development Agency. By 1970, visitors to Texas would triple, totaling 21 million.

1967: The first specialty license plate becomes available from the Texas Department of Transportation.

1969: Houston Intercontinental Airport begins operations.

Ajdibilio |

1973: The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is established, with curriculum shaped in part by motorcyclists at Texas A&M University.

1974: The first commercial flight lands at DFW International, now the fourth busiest airport in the U.S.

1982: The iconic Pennybacker Bridge over Lake Austin, with its unique untied arch suspension construction, opens in Austin.

1984: I-40 opens, superseding the famous Route 66.

Paul Harris Photography | Getty Images

1989: Fort Worth Alliance Airport, billed as the world’s first industrial airport, opens.

1995: Bernard Harris Jr. of Temple, payload commander aboard space shuttle Discovery, becomes the first African American to walk in space.

1995: The Fred Hartman Bridge between Baytown and La Porte, built to withstand hurricane-force winds, replaces the Baytown Tunnel as a means to cross the Houston Ship Channel.

2001: South Padre Island’s Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway collapses, killing eight people, who plunged from the roadway into the bay, 80 feet below.

2002: The Trans-Texas Corridor, 4,000 miles of superhighway, rail and utility corridors crisscrossing the state, is proposed.


2003: SpaceX establishes a facility in McGregor to test rocket engines, vehicle structures and systems.

2005: HomeAway, a vacation rental marketplace based in Austin, is founded.

2012: The Margaret Hunt Hill bridge over the Trinity River in Dallas opens with its signature 40-story center support arch.

2014: SpaceX breaks ground on the Boca Chica Beach launch site near Brownsville.

2016: McAllen introduces the state’s first fleet of wirelessly charged all-electric public buses.

2018: Mid-South Synergy launches electric vehicle charging stations in the co-op’s territory.

2018: Electric scooters sprout up on sidewalks in urban areas, including Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston and San Antonio.