Funding the Diverse Transportation Needs of a Vast and Rapidly Growing State Transportation Advocates of Texas is a statewide coalition that brings together cities, counties, established community and regional organizations and business interests to support additional funding to address the challenging highway transportation demands facing the state. We support funding solutions for infrastructure improvements that reduce congestion, enhance safety, move commerce, create jobs and improve the quality of life in Texas.
The Texas Transportation Commission Monthly Meeting Schedule:
The Commission will hold their regular monthly meeting July 31st in Austin.
2040 TRANSPORTATION PLAN STATEWIDE PUBLIC MEETINGS
This summer TxDOT is conducting a series of 25 statewide public meetings running through August 5th to get citizen feedback to guide development of the Texas Transportation Plan 2040. The plan will address the state's aging infrastructure and offer solutions for prioritizing transportation funding and assets. It will address all trasportation modes. Written comments may be submitted until Sept. 1st. Public hearings on the plan are expected to be held in the fall of 2014.
Our LIBRARY includes some very valuable information about Texas transportation. They are here for you to download.
Organizations associated with the Transportation Advocates of Texas are working to inform Texans about the growing need to improve infrastructure investment in the state starting with passage of Prop 1, the Highway Funding Amendment. These advocates are stressing the need for projects that will improve highway safety, sustain jobs and address congestion -- all important to maintaining a Texas lifestyle that Texans believe is something special. You can see part of the efforts to engage the public by clicking on each of the websites appearing above. [Read More]
Texas voters in November will elect new state leadership including a new governor and a lieutenant governor to preside over the Texas Senate. They will also vote on Proposition 1 -- a big step toward addressing the shortfall in highway project funding. If it passes it will help improve safety and allow TxDOT to better preserve our overburdened highways. Through the constitutional amendment voters will direct that part of the taxes collected on oil and natural gas production be dedicated to highway projects. Oil and gas production have increased dramatically in the past few years. We have some key facts every voter should know about Prop 1. [Read More]
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus met with members of the Transportation Advocates of Texas and pledged to help chip away at the growing shortfall in funding for Texas highways. Straus said he thinks it is essential to end diversions from the State Highway Fund that go to non-road building. Getting that off the table will allow the Legislature to address the much larger transportation funding needs that are the result of our success in economic growth and population growth in recent years. He also joined TAoT in backing the Proposition 1 Highway Funding Amendment that will go to the voters in November. He repeated an earlier warning about the wisdom of relying too much on volatile energy prices for long-term transportation funding. [Read More]
A few years ago State Rep. Joe Pickett of El Paso, one of the most articulate advocates of Texas highways and former chairman of the House Transportation Committee, decided to take on the job of designing a simple fact sheet explaining the gasoline tax in Texas. With information provided by the authoritative Texas A&M Transportation Institute he has produced a 2014 version that explains how the tax impacts families and how the static 20-cent per gallon fee is failing to meet the state's growing needs. We'll show you all the elements of what is popularly known as Pickett's Placemat. [See or Download Fact Sheet]
The public policy pot surrounding highway funding is finally starting to boil after a decade of voter indifference and studious attention by state leaders to kicking the can into the future. One-time funding sources and aggressive reliance on debt has made that possible. The Texas Tribune has a piece that fills in some of the space between the highway shoulders. [Read More]
In an in-depth front page story the Wall Street Journal explores the fact that Americans have been flocking to Texas and that the state is grappling with how to pay for the highways and other infrastructure needed to deal with the results of prosperity. For several years new Texans have been arriving at a rate of about 1,500 per day. At the same time the buying power of transportation funding has been declining. The Journal notes that Texas ranked 45th in the nation in per-capita highway expenditures in 2012 -- a year when the state spent a substantial amount of one-time borrowed bond funds on state highway projects. [Read More]
House Speaker Joe Straus has named the nine members of the House Select Transportation Committee and named Rep. Joe Pickett as chairman. A similar select committee has been appointed in the Senate and is chaired by Senator Robert Nichols. The committees will report back to the Legislature later this year with an assessment of existing highway funding and recommendations on how the state should deal with a serious shortfall. [Read More]
Candidates running for statewide offices have been making campaign pledges saying they will deal with the growing Texas highway funding crisis. This open discussion of addressing the need for much more new, permanent funding is helping set the stage for the possibility that the highway funding gap will be a major topic in the 2015 session of the Texas Legislature. [Read More]
Spending on highway projects nationwide is at least $50 billion a year short of meeting minimum needs according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's biannual report to Congress. The Highway Trust Fund will run dry later this year without action and moves to find sustainable funding in addition to the federal fuels tax are again being discussed. The U.S. Chamber is advocating an increase in the federal gasoline tax but that is given little chance of passage. [Read More]
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus have made their interim charge assignments to the legislative committees dealing with transportation. None of the charges deals directly with the large and growing transportation project funding gap facing Texas. Additional charges are expected later in the year. [Read Interim Charges]
Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ted Houghton told a TAoT audience that local cities and counties will have to come up with part of the money to fund many future highway projects in Texas. He said the state has so many other needs that the Legislature is unlikely to ever provide the funding TxDOT needs to keep up with explosive growth and aging roads and bridges. He recalled his widely reported 2005 comment that the "road fairy" is dead. [Read More]
Shifting the burden of paying part of the cost of state highway projects to local governments has been underway for at least a decade. Events are converging to speed this "devolution" of responsibility. The Austin American-Stateman's Ben Wear helps track the history of how we arrived at this place. [Read More]
Booming new oil production levels in Texas mean that revenues from oil and natural gas production taxes flowing to the state are soaring. That means that Texas voters can approve dedicating half of these revenues to bolster the State Highway Fund and still see the "Rainy Day Fund" overflow. The flood of oil and gas revenue is already projected to be near $2.8 billion dollars in 2014. The current projection is that the Highway Fund could get at least $1.35 million in 2015 and even more in future years if voters approve the Highway Funding Constitutional Amendment in November. [Read More]
Another poll has confirmed that Texans are willing to pay additional taxes and fees to have highways and roads that are well maintained and help them get to their destination safely, without undue delay and with minimal frustration. The poll found that 64% said they are willing to pay more to repair and improve highways and bridges and 57% said they are willing to pay more to add needed highway capacity. On the other hand Texans like the highways they depend on -- only 15% said they were unsatisfied with the quality of our highways and roads. [Read More]
Members of the Texas House and Senate came together in the end to allow Texas the opportunity to take a big step forward toward adequately funding the state's highways. The voters will decide in November 2014 whether to direct $1.4 billion a year or more to highway maintenance and construction. Sen. Robert Nichols and Rep. Joe Pickett provided the key leadership to pull together a proposed constitutional amendment that could get the required two-thirds vote in each House. A Select Committee will report to the 2015 Legislature on highway funding needs. [Read More]
During seven months of work members of the 2013 Texas Legislature passed an appropriations bill that provided highways with only a small increase in net funding. That includes $200 million a year for construction and $225 million one-time to fix rural roads being destroyed by oilfield equipment and thousands of trucks. Members also approved an assortment of other transportation related bills dealing with comprehensive development agreements, transportation reinvestment zones and local option county vehicle registration fees. [Read More]
A national research group has published its list of 100 most deficient highways and bridges in Texas and the results show things are getting worse. TRIP, a nonprofit group, compiled the list that includes metropolitan portions of Interstate 30, Interstate 45, Interstate 35, US 75, US 290, Loop 410 and more including replacement of the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge, considered to be a mega project. The report warns that Texas needs to spend more on highways to keep pace with population and economic growth. Release of the TRIP report resulted in dozens of media stories throughout the state directing attention to the need for additional sustained highway funding. [Read More/Download the Report].
Texas' crumbling roads are costing drivers plenty and roads will continue to deteriorate, new safety and capacity improvements won't keep up with growth unless new funding sources are found. A new report shows just how much the cost for each Texas driver is -- as much as $2,000 per year in some area. That burden results from extra vehicle operating costs, excess vehicle depreciation, traffic crashes related to road conditions, increased fuel costs and congestion delays. You can download the entire report here. [Read More]
Underfunding highways costs Texans more, not less. Texans are paying with their time, safety and pocketbooks. There are large, real hidden costs that don't get talked about enough. They are absorbed by everyone. They are the cost of doing nothing about transportation funding. A&M's Texas Transportation Institute says motorists in urban Texas are spending on average 37 hours extra in traffic delays every year. The Cost of Doing Nothing is high. Texas community leaders and businesses are uniting to send a message to members of the Legislature that it is time to invest in highways again. [Read More]