Annual Construction Funding

Needed to Maintain Different

Pavement Quality Levels

The Texas Transportation Institute and the 2030 Committee found that Texas highways need a minimum of $6 billion a year in new contract lettings to slow deteriorating pavements and to address mobility. Right now only an estimated $2.8 billion is available for 2014 and 2015. At that level the quality and safety of the Texas highway system will continue to erode.

The Texas Good Roads/Transportation Association has initiated an effort to increase awareness of Texas highway funding facts and the cost of inaction. Here is some of the material they have produced:

Funding Informational Reference Folder [PDF]

Full Informational Reference Report [PDF]

The Cost of Doing Nothing

Highway Funding In Decline

July 16, 2012


The Texas tax on gasoline and diesel fuels was set based on our needs 20 years ago. Our bonding programs which have sustained our infrastructure over the past ten years are exhausted. The future of our highways is uncertain.


Here are the facts about highway funding in decline. This chart shows highway contract lettings each year. It is based on data from the Tx DOT Finance Division and includes state let, local let and publicly funded CDA and design-build projects. The projections for 2014-2017 are TxDOT's best estimates based on federal highway funding levels and trends in state revenues that will be available to fund new highway project contacts.







Fuel efficiency is beneficial, but not for highway funding. It reduces revenue for maintenance and does nothing to allay congestion even though fuel efficient cars cause the same wear and tear and congestion as their less efficient counterparts.




There are a lot of influences at play with a flat motor fuels tax, most notably inflation. The 20 cents that was deemed an appropriate investment in 1991 translates to 9.2 cents in today's value.




Because Texans have been borrowing money for the last decade to build their roads, debt payments and long-term obligations are at almost $1.3 billion each year, with more than $15 billion left to be paid off. In addition there are $700 million in annual diversions from the State Highway Fund. Together that is $2 billion a year in annual taxes and fees that are already spent for years to come.




Unacceptable Conditions: If highway funding does not improve, the average Texas Household will pay an estimated $232 per year in taxes and fees for transportation between now and 2035. This includes fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees, tolls and other fees for construction and maintenance of the transportation system.

What can you expect with that investment? You pay almost $6,100 per year in vehicle maintenance and use costs, including extra travel time associated with traffic congestion and detours around deficient bridges, increased fuel purchases due to longer trips and stop-and-go traffic, and additional vehicle maintenance expenses due to rough roads.

Worst Acceptable Conditions: An additional $174 per year paid in taxes and fees per household returns $1,270 per year in savings realized from reduced congestion and vehicle operating and maintenance costs. Pavement conditions will be much better and congestion will grow more slowly.

Minimum Competitive Conditions: An additional $279 per household each year above the unacceptable conditions trend will return more than $1,860 per household in savings each year. Conditions will ensure Texas cities and rural areas are economically competitive with peer states.


Continue 2010 Conditions: An additional $402 per household each year is required to keep conditions as they were in 2010, but that investment returns $2,440 per household in benefits each year.


You can see more of the Cost of Doing Nothing information at: INFRASTRUCTURE TEXAS.