Here’s the link to the report, An Audit Report on the Department of Transportation’s Reported Funding Gap and Tax Gap Information.
The accuracy of the estimated costs for metropolitan and urban regions cannot be determined because of the lack of supporting documentation.
The methodology the Department used to calculate the amount of the funding gap provides a general assessment of the statewide need for additional mobility funding; however, it may not be reliable for making policy or funding decisions. To calculate the funding gap, the Department collaborated with the eight largest metropolitan planning organizations to obtain cost estimates, and it used those estimates to determine the funding gap for metropolitan regions. The Department provided some guidance to the metropolitan planning organizations. The data the Department used were cost estimates that were self-reported by the metropolitan planning organizations. The cost for urban regions was estimated by the Department based on broad and generalized assumptions. For the estimated costs in rural regions, the Department relied on cost estimates for the Texas Trunk System (a project developed in 1990 to connect the rural regions of the state with a statewide system).
The Department and metropolitan planning organizations also asserted that the main benefit from funding gap estimates was the increased communication and shared responsibility between the entities to address mobility and funding challenges. The Department stated that it plans to update the funding gap estimate every two years and make improvements to the reporting methodology.
Is there a reason TxDOT and MPO’s would want this number to be inflated? That’s a rhetorical question, of course.
Ben Wear has more, Report says that more than $45 billion of the estimate is either in error or undocumented. That’s $45 billioin of an estimated $86, that more than half, for those scoring at home. He’s has this quote from Michael Behrens of TxDOT.
Mike Behrens, the Transportation Department’s executive director, released a statement this morning saying that even if the shortfall is smaller, the state still has a substantial and growing problem in paying for new roads.
Behrens called the audit report “further documentation of a multi-billion dollar funding gap between the transportation system our state deserves and the one we can afford with current resources. No matter what number you choose, Texas has a big problem: more people, in more cars, driving more miles on an already congested highway system.
“The State Auditor’s Office has provided some good suggestions for refining the methodology to draw a clearer picture of the state’s mobility needs and we are incorporating their recommendations into our future assessments.”
Wow, caught inflating numbers and he calls it good news. No, what this means Mr. Behrens is that the “sky is falling we have accept corporate tolls on every road in Texas” policy was sham, that’s what this report means.