Proposition 7 will be on the ballot statewide November 3, giving voters the opportunity to pass a constitutional amendment dedicating $2.5 billion annually of existing sales tax revenue to the State Highway Fund in 2018, an amount that is expected to grow to $3 billion annually by 2021.
These funds can only be used for new construction and highway system preservation.
On a state geographical standpoint, the number of individuals calling Texas their residential place of home is rapidly increasing with a boisterous number of 1,000 people per day. We are adding 30,000 additional vehicles to the state’s roadways each month. The need for additional transportation infrastructure funding is vital to the future livelihood of all the communities here in the Rio Grande Valley.
Without voter approval of Proposition 7, total funding for new highway construction and maintenance will continue to decline sharply as borrowed money and one-time funding sources are exhausted.
Regionally through our highways, land ports of entry, and railways currently serve as a channel for domestic and foreign goods. Land ports of entry stretching along the Texas-Mexico border have crossed 280 billion in trade as of last year and will continue to rise rapidly in the near future. These vital segments of infrastructure require funding to remain efficient in terms of delivery.
With the increase of vehicle and cargo traffic, the state leaves the Rio Grande Valley cities and county stakeholders’ in a vulnerable position of not providing adequate highway infrastructure for their constituents including current and potential economic investors, both domestic and international.
Currently, with freight traffic and passenger vehicles are sharing the same roadways, causing congestion along Interstate 69 Central and Interstate 2 interchange. In May 2015, United States Customs and Border Patrol reported 436,911 southbound bridge crossings for all vehicular bridges along the Pharr, Donna, Hidalgo, and Anzalduas ports of entry. With international collaborations between our border communities, one can say the region is on the verge of becoming an international MSA with the power to double its current populace numbers.
As a region, we need to continue the urgency to fully recognize the value of sustainable roads for our constituents and expand those core fundamental necessities that are established for local motorways also for highway infrastructure with the same vitality and vigilance.
Proposition 7 will create a statewide, permanent and growing stream of investment in our Texas highways with the potential of funding allotments for our region. Proposition 7, will have the ability to dedicate existing sales tax revenues to building and maintaining our highway system. As a community we have the ability to provide the Texas Department of Transportation the resources to plan, design, and construct an adequate and efficient highway system for the future of our state.
Please join me in voting Tuesday, November 3rd to dedicate these existing sales tax state revenues to a core function of state government – our transportation system.