As a state, we are facing a critical transportation crisis that, until a few years ago, was not being talking about.
As it stands, we do not have enough dedicated funds budgeted to sustain our current conditions, but we have made some important, conservative improvements over the last two years to improve our funding situations. In 2014 and 2015, more than 80% of Texas voters overwhelming voted for Propositions 1 and 7 to direct a significant amount of state revenue into highway funding.
Legislators are facing a tight budget year in 2017. There are elected officials who will want to reallocate funds promised for infrastructure towards other issues. Such action could undo the progress made to ease traffic, decrease commuting times, improve road conditions and reduce debt in Texas.
If legislators pull funds promised for infrastructure, Texas will continue to rely on debt-financing, passing on the enormity of today’s costs to future generations. Legislators need to keep the promise to allocate voted upon and supported resources to infrastructure.
With overwhelming funding approval in the past two years, Texans have made it clear that infrastructure reform should remain a priority. Legislators need to do the same and keep their commitments and not siphon much-needed money to other causes.
To communicate this message to your legislators, sign our petition to help keep the pressure on for more roads.
In 2014, Texans voted to pass Proposition 1, which designated a portion of oil and gas taxes to highway funding. Since it is tied to oil and gas prices, that funding may decline. However, at the end of 2018, up to $2.5 billion in additional funds could begin to flow to highways. Over $2 billion has been spent to date from Proposition 1 on mobility projects all around the state. Click here to see a map of all projects funded by Proposition 1.
In addition, the legislative leadership made a major decision in 2015 to stop diverting money from the state highway fund for non-highway uses. During the last two years, $1.3 billion in additional revenue has gone to build highways. The money saved by stopping diversions has been put into the Texas Clear Lanes Project, an effort focused on addressing gridlock in five major metropolitan areas – Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. Click here to see a list of projects underway and upcoming.
In 2015, voters also passed Proposition 7, which will designate a portion of sales and use tax and state motor vehicle sales and rental tax to highway funding. The funds collected can only be used to build, maintain and restore non-tolled public roads and repay transportation-related debt. Funds from this Proposition can be accessed in late 2017.
But Texas can only continue to fund and complete new projects if the funds promised from Propositions 1 and 7 remain committed to infrastructure. Sign our petition to make sure legislators keep the promise.