The Commission will hold the regular monthly meeting at 9 a.m. July 28th in Austin. A workshop is set for 2 p.m. on July 27 to discuss the FY 2017 department budget and to hear an update on I-35 corridor topics.
LEGISLATURE -- The Senate Transportation Committee will meet at 9 a.m. on Sept. 14th in the Capitol. TxDOT will provide an update. The committee will discuss transportation project prioitization and selection recommendations.
SUNSET -- The Texas Department of Transportation is under legislative Sunset Review in 2016. Written public comments will be received by the Sunset Advisory Commission through August 1st. A staff review report is due in November. The Commission will take testimony and adopt recommendations before the next legislative session begins on January 10, 2017.
New Texans Don't Bring
Any Roads With Them
MORE THAN 1,000 NEW RESIDENTS every day help make Texas an economic powerhouse. They bring their cars and trucks but leave their roads behind. From 2014 to 2015 total registered vehicles in Texas grew by 260,000 and the number of licensed Texas drivers grew by 1.5 million. The Texas population has increased 55% since 1990 while the state's roadway miles have increased only 7%.
CHALLENGE - 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.
To learn more about TAoT and the value of participating as a member organization download our informational folder:
Advocate Folder (for email) DOWNLOAD
While road construction costs have risen rapidly in recent years, this growth has slowed dramatically since the Great Recession ended, particularly in the all-important category of borrowing costs. As the national economy continues to recover, however, prices will rise. Any further delays in transportation improvements may compromise the state's budget and make future decisions more expensive and more painful. That is the key conclusion of the second installment of an analysis of Texas transportation finance issues by Comptroller Glenn Hegar. The report in Fiscal Notes points to the oversized economic impacts of efficient transportation. [Read More]
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar points to aging infrastructure and a "never-ending flow" of new Texans as the root cause of the considerable challenge Texas faces in ensuring safe and efficient highways. This month Fiscal Notes, a publication of the Comptroller's Office, takes a swing at explaining how the Texas highways are financed and the failure of traditional funding sources to keep up with the significant funding gap Texas leaders have been working to deal with. [Read More]
Glenn W. Smith makes the point that highways and bridges are not just "infrastructure," they are part of our life support system. He writes that it is easy for politicians to refuse to spend money on infrastructure but it would be very hard for an elected official to look the public in the eye and say, "No.No money for life support systems. Sorry." He made his case for this alternate way of thinking about public infrastructure and terminology in a recent piece in Harvey Kronberg's Quorum Report. [Read Smith's Piece]
Texas seaports and border ports of entry are critical components of the state's transportation infrastructure and as freight volumes increase they need improved access to highways and rail facilities. Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, long-time member of the Legislature from South Texas, makes the case that as the pace quickens the state must do more to fund projects that will improve access, traffic efficiency and security at ports and at border crossings. He calls for increases overall transportation funding to allow for these investments. [Read More]
The Transportation Commission has directed $1.3 billion to 14 projects on some of the state's most congested urban highway sections. TxDOT has launched an initiative it is calling Texas Clear Lanes as a signal for the commission's goal of improving congestion gridlock at key spots in a state with a growing population and increasing highway freight traffic. The Transportation Advocates of Texas welcomes this focus and thanks state officials for their leadership. [Read More]
A statewide effort to determine congestion relief priorities resulted in the selection of 14 urban projects that can be pushed forward ahead of schedule.That list has three projects in the Houston area including reconstruction of the overwhelmed Interstate 69 and West Loop 610 interchange near the Galleria. In Dallas funding is going to two I-35 East projects including the massive Southern Gateway. There are two projects in the San Antonio Area, four I-35 projects in Austin and three upgrade projects in Tarrant County. We've compiled a list outlining each project. [Read More]
When Transportation Advocates of Texas was organized in 2010 it had a mission – finding a way to bring together many advocates to more effectively engage all 181 members of the Texas Legislature in support of additional resources to address a rapidly growing highway funding gap. Much has been accomplished in a productive five years. And there is more work to be done -- the Texas highway funding gap is still a long way from being filled. [Read More]
In January the Senate Transportation Committee began taking up the seven interim charges presented to the committee by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Topping the list is monitoring TxDOT's implementation of legislation passed in 2015 including HB 20 which directs TxDOT to adopt new project planning, prioritization, selection and programming processes. The committee is also charged with evaluating the state's vehicle inspection system, the Driver Responsibility Program and oversize/overweight vehicle regulations. [Read More]
The new five-year federal highway bill includes two provisions that will help change the face of Texas in the decades ahead. The bill adds 73 miles of State Highway 44 in South Texas to the state's border-to-border Interstate 69 System. It creates a new Central Texas Corridor generally following US 190 and designates it as future Interstate 14. The new interstate corridor begins in West Texas and will serve Fort Hood/Killeen, Belton, Bryan/College Station, Huntsville, Livingston and Woodville while providing a new east-west connection between I-35, I-45 and future I-69. [Read More]
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has issued interim charges instructing the House Transportation Committee to study a list of topic including design-build contracting, local transportation funding mechanisms, innovative transportation technologies, possible reduction in the use of tolling for new projects and agency oversight. [Read More]
Texas voters continue to approve the building blocks necessary to address the serious highway funding gap that has been facing the state. As they did with Proposition 1 in 2014, voters overwhelmingly approved Prop 7 on the Nov. 3rd ballot, dedicating about $3 billion annually in future years to building the transportation infrastructure that is needed to keep up with growth in population, commerce and freight movements. Approval of Prop 7 means that an additional $2.5 billion will flow into the State Highway Fund starting in FY 2018. The second increment of about $500 million a year will be available starting in FY 2020. Sen. Robert Nichols and Rep. Joe Pickett were key champions of both of the successful highway funding propositions. [Read More]
Senator Robert Nichols, chairman of the Texas Senate Transportation Committee is calling on Texans to help solve the shortfall in highway funding and to again join in seeing that the state makes necessary investments for the future. In an editorial page piece written by Sen. Nichols, he encourages voters to make time to cast their vote for Proposition 7 in the November 3rd constitutional amendment election. Early voting started October 19th and ends on October 30th. [Read Nichol's Column]
Statewide leaders, lawmakers and local community leaders are coming together in broad support for voter passage of Proposition 7 which would provide billions in additional funding for the State Highway Fund. With strong urging from Gov. Gregg Abbott, the Legislature overwhelmingly passed and set to Texas voters a proposed amendment that would dedicate $2.5 billion in general sales tax revenues and some future motor vehicle sales taxes to highways. Organizations associated with the Transportation Advocates of Texas coalition are providing information and urging voters to support more predictable funding when they vote on November 3rd. [Read More]
The Texas Legislature took major steps this year to keep highway congestion levels and pavement conditions from deteriorating further. Steps included offering Proposition 7 for voter consideration, ending most Highway Fund diversions and increased general appropriations to compensate for part of the $700 million a year less that is available in previously approved bond proceeds. Sen. Robert Nichols and Rep. Joe Pickett played key rolls in the transportation-related accomplishments of the 2015 legislative session. In final legislative remarks, Sen. Don Huffines warned that there is still much more to do to meet the state's funding needs. [Read More]
The TxDOT staff has prepared a comprehensive review of transportation-related legislation enacted by the 84th Texas Legislature that finished its work in June. The report is an overview of important transportation bills and other legislation that affects TxDOT's daily operations.It notes that while funding was the lead issue, other legislation was passed dealing with contracting reform, transportation planning, debt management and traffic safety. [Read More]
Texas has the highest overall rating and is the most cost-effective state highway system among the nation’s 20 most populous states. That is the bottom line of the Reason Foundation’s 21st Annual Highway Report rating the nation’s 50 state transportation departments and their highway systems. TxDOT Executive Director Joe Weber says that is just one example of the agency's stellar achievements in the past year. [Read More]
Much more needs to be done to fill the highway funding gap in Texas even after voters gave 80% support to the Prop 1 constitutional amendment. The Transportation Advocates of Texas offer a special thanks to Sen. Robert Nichols and Rep. Joe Pickett for their tireless work on behalf of the amendment and to all Texans for passing the ballot measure. TAoT and its member organizations will be asking state lawmakers in the upcoming session to approve additional new, long-term, sustainable funding sources to fill the remaining funding gap faced by the state as Texas tries to keep up with continuing growth and aging roads and bridges. [Read More]