The Texas Department of Transportation maintains nearly 200,000 total lane miles and more than 50,000 bridges – the largest state highway system in the country.
Texas is $5 billion short for roads. Annually.
A special transportation committee of Texas business and civic leaders – working with the Texas Transportation Institute – recently calculated Texas’s unmet transportation needs at $5 billion annually. The shortfall includes $1 billion for existing road maintenance and $4 billion for mobility improvements.
Roads in oil and gas regions of Texas will cost even more; likely another $1 billion per year just to maintain energy roads, many of which were not built to handle the truck traffic energy production requires.
Expect another 18 million Texas vehicles by 2040
Texas is expected to add 18 million people by 2040. That’s in addition to the 27 million residents today. Based on the current 1.1 registered vehicles per citizen, that means another 18 million additional vehicles on Texas roads by 2040.
Why can’t we build roads as needed?
A typical freeway interchange costs about $250 million. An overpass costs $5.8 million per lane mile. Freeway widening costs $6.1 million per lane mile. As inflation, real estate costs, materials and construction costs increase over time, delaying construction will inevitably drive costs even higher, increase traffic congestion, compromise safety, and negatively impact our economy.
We need to establish sustainable funding for roads, air, rail and ports.
What are our funding options?
Current transportation funding sources are maxed out.
Gas Tax: The state gas tax is 20¢ per gallon. It hasn’t changed since 1991 and 5¢ of that goes to public schools. The average Texas driver pays $9.52 a month in state fuel taxes.
Vehicle Registration: State vehicle registration fees range from $50-$55, much less than some other large states.
Capital Bonds: Voter-approved bond financing, which is like taking out a mortgage to fund road construction, is nearly at capacity, and the state is working hard to reduce public debt.
Cost Cutting: Cost cutting is now commonplace at the Texas Department of Transportation, including privatizing computer services, refinancing debt, selling off 6,000 state vehicles, and privatizing roadway maintenance in some parts of our state.
We need a new solution!
You can make a difference!
Do you drive a motor vehicle? Are you an employer or employee? Are you are a leader in your community? If so, you have a vested interest in the success of this vote!
Texas voters will vote on a ballot measure adding $1.7 billion annually to road funding, without new taxes or fees. Of course, that’s just a start. More needs to be done so Texas roads keep pace with our fast-growing population, job-creation and economy.