Transportation Advocates of Texas, Inc. Supports

New Funding Sources in 2015 Legislative Program


The following 2015 Legislative Program was adopted by the TAoT Board of Directors:



Economic expansion and population growth have put tremendous pressure on the state’s transportation infrastructure system, while the resources to support the maintenance, improvement and expansion of the system are not keeping pace.  This lack of needed investment hurts job creation, increases safety concerns, results in dirtier air, and reduces the quality of life for our citizens. 


Transportation Advocates of Texas supports: 1) passage of new, long-term, sustainable funding sources for transportation infrastructure; and 2) the dedication of existing revenue generated from taxes, fees, or receipts related to transportation to the maintenance, improvement and expansion of roads, rail and public transportation. 



Legislative solutions to Texas transportation needs could take many forms or approaches.  We offer these suggestions as starting points:


1. Dedicate All State Highway Fund Revenues to Transportation.  As recently proposed by Speaker Straus, end legislative diversions or appropriations from the State Highway Fund (Fund 6) for any purpose other than maintenance, improvement and expansion of transportation infrastructure.  


2. Dedicate Vehicle Sales Tax Revenue for Transportation.  Constitutionally dedicate a portion of the existing Sales and Use tax on new and used motor vehicles to transportation. This tax should be considered a "user fee" for motorists using the state's roads and bridges. This revenue source is predictable, adjusts for inflation, does not rely on a particular type of fuel (i.e. gasoline or natural gas or electric), and is transportation related.


3. Support Additional Long-Term Dedicated Funding Sources. There are other responsible and reasonable options available to legislators to provide a long-term, dedicated source or sources of funding for needed transportation projects.  These include raising and/or indexing the state’s motor fuels tax (last adjusted in 1991), raising and/or indexing the vehicle registration fee, and establishing appropriate road user fees for electric and other alternatively powered vehicles.  These measures would help restore and preserve the purchasing power of the State Highway Fund.


4. Capitalize the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund. Freight mobility is vital to the state's economic competitiveness.  Improving rail infrastructure would enhance freight mobility and help relieve growing pressure on our highways.  The state should capitalize the Texas Rail Relocation & Improvement Fund, partner with the freight rail industry, and support TxDOT efforts to identify additional resources for freight rail programs.


5. Local Funding. Provide cities and counties with additional local funding options and resources to address transportation needs that are not otherwise met by current funding sources or to offset any new transportation related costs or requirements by state or federal government.


6. Maritime Ports. Texas Maritime Ports are the state’s gateways to the world, providing a critical link between the products we grow, manufacture, sell and consume to sustain and grow our economy. Although most ports are political subdivisions of the state, Texas ports have not historically received direct funding from the state for port infrastructure. The state should address the access and infrastructure needs of its maritime ports, including the capitalization of the Port Access Account Fund in Chapter 55 of the Texas Transportation Code.