We’ve got major transportation funding problems in Texas. So much so that multiple elected member of the Texas GOP are saying stuff like this, Official stresses importance of finding additional revenue for state highways.
Besides the need for new road construction, [Larry Phillips (R-Sherman)] also cited the amount of existing roadway components that need to be maintained. This includes the state’s current 194,000 lane miles
and the 51,808 miles of bridges.
“All of this will eventually cost the average Texas household about $9,500 a year in fuel, car maintenance, depreciation, tires and auto insurance,” he said. “The credit-card system will eventually no longer be available. We need some additional long-term funding solutions.”
Phillips concluded his remarks by urging everyone in the room to call their local state representatives and officials and discuss with them ideas for alternative revenue streams. [Emphasis added]
We all know what dirty phrase “alternative revenue streams” is in GOP circles, it’s like saying tax increase! Read what GOP state Rep. Drew Darby recently said on the same subject. The TxDOT leadership is going to be a problem moving forward. TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson’s answer to this question shows why, Phil Wilson: The TT Interview.
TT: [With gas tax revenue failing to keep pace with the state’s transportation needs, toll roads have become a common method to fund major highway projects. Some lawmakers say Texans are getting “toll road fatigue.”] Is that a concern TxDOT has as well?
Wilson: Our objective is to be a people agency that facilitates economic development, and our product is transportation. Our charge by the legislature is to go out and find the ways we can to build infrastructure, mobility, to address congestion and safety. And so we look at all methods of financing, and I think that tolling and this kind of growth allows us to jump-start projects by three to four times faster. It’s the nature of what we have to do. … I think you have to look at tolls as one method of financing. [Emphasis added]
It’s not surprising that this is Wilson’s focus given the corporate shills he came up under – Phil Gramm and Rick Perry. But it shows where his focus is, or isn’t, as the case may be. While the needed transportation infrastructure improvements in Texas will improve economic development, they should not be the main “objective”. Notice that TxDOT’s mission statement never even mentions economic development.
It’s clear fro this that the main mission of those now running our state is not on the needs of Texas taxpayers. It’s on those who finance their campaigns. And we now have a trickle-down transportation policy, to go with the trickle-down economic policy. They will authorize the building of toll roads that “facilitate economic development” and the traffic de-congestion will magically trickle-down (NOT!). Mission Accomplished, as they say.