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.


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Committees Will Assess Funding Crisis

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]

 

Statewide Candidates Talk Up Highway Funding

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]

 

 

Federal Highway Trust Fund in Crisis

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]

 

Legislative Committees Get Interim Assignments

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]

 

Houghton: More Local Funding Required

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]

 

More on the Shift to Local Funding of Highways

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]

 

Past Commissioners to Promote Amendment

Four former TxDOT commissioners will help lead a campaign to win voter support for the Highway Funding Constitutional Amendment that will help meet part of the highway funding shortfall if approved by Texas voters in November. There will also be other campaign efforts including outreach and coordination efforts to engage local leaders and groups that can work to inform voters and help see that the message gets through in what will be a very active election season this year. [Read More]

 

Rainy Day Fund Turning Into Revenue Flood

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]

 

Statesman: Stop Kicking the Funding Can

The editorial writers at the Austin American Statesman recently pointed out that growth is overwhelming Texas highways and that the consequences are real and challenging. Growth has produced $250 million more in vehicle registration fees than expected - good enough to fund some oil patch damage repair and maintenance projects. But the Statesman points out that the state has been kicking this can down the road for a while now. And while legislators have been kicking, the road has been deteriorating. [Read More]

 

Most Texans Would Pay More for Better Highways

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]

 

Wilson: TxDOT Trying to Stretch Available Dollars

Our state is growing fast, our highway system is getting old, funding provided does not begin to meet the needs. TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson, who left that position at the end of 2013 to leader LCRA, provides an assessment of what the department is doing to stretch available funding. [Read His Op-Ed Here]

 

Highways Could Get $1.4 Billion More A Year

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]

 

Legislature Approves a Patchwork of Highway Bills

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]

 

TRIP Lists 100 Most Deficient Highways & Bridges

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].

 

Crumbling Roads Cost You -- Big Time

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]

 

Cost of Doing Nothing Higher Than You Think

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]

 

 

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