Each and every day we drive on poorly maintained roads and sit in hours of stalled traffic complaining on social media about the time wasted and the lack of congestion solutions.
With an estimated 1,000 people moving to Texas every day, the hours wasted stuck in traffic will get longer and the road conditions will get worse unless something is done.
Transportation is the lifeblood of our economy. For decades, our state highway system was efficient, expeditious, and the envy of other states. Our highways made Texas the economic powerhouse it is today. For years Texas’ population has boomed and the state has prospered from it. But that prosperity is now threatened. With demand for road space far outpacing supply, the lack of investment in our transportation infrastructure could bring our economy to a halt.
Passage of Proposition 7 on the November constitutional amendment ballot is a critical measure for the future of Texas roads. With Prop 7, at least $2.5 billion a year would go directly to our highways and transportation infrastructure. No new taxes. No new fees. Voting YES to Prop 7 would guarantee these funds go towards expanding our roads and highways, advancing our transportation infrastructure goals, and improving the safety of our families.
In 2013 lawmakers passed a constitutional amendment shifting money form oil and gas production revenue to roads — voters approved this measure last year as Prop 1. In this past 2015 legislative session, lawmakers again focused on transportation and created a more stable funding source to sustain highways if voters give their approval this November.
Prop 7 would shift at least $2.5 billion in sales tax revenue and a percentage of vehicle sales and rental tax revenue directly to the State’s Highway Fund. The amendment would authorize a new, stable source of funding for transportation in Texas, dedicated to new construction and the maintenance of our existing roads and highway system. Prop 7 would not only address current needs, but would also provide more funding as the economy grows; because a percentage of tax revenue deposited to the highway fund would increase with economic growth and consumption.
Over the past decade the lack of reliable and sustainable funding sources has hampered TxDOT’s ability to achieve its goals through sound financial and project planning. Prop 7 would bring a great amount of certainty to TxDOT’s future infrastructure projects. It would help TxDOT and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) bridge the state’s current $5 billion annual transportation funding gap.
If we combine the revenue generated from Prop 7 with last year’s voter-approved Prop 1 funding, the state is almost at the $5 billion shortfall that is needed. Revenue desperately needed to repair roads in areas affected by energy development, provide congestion relief, maintain our highway system, and fund border trade projects.
We are already beginning to see the significant additional revenue for roads in South Texas from last year’s voter-approved Prop 1. For fiscal year 2016, TxDOT distributed $1.13 billion statewide for transportation projects. The Corpus Christi “district” received $36 million and the Corpus Christi MPO received $6.9 million. In the Rio Grande Valley, the Pharr “district” received $43 million with the Hidalgo MPO getting $14.8 million, the Harlingen-San Benito MPO getting $3.7 million, and the Brownsville MPO getting $4.1 million. This same funding is estimated as well for fiscal year 2017. With the passage of Prop 7 these revenues would be more than doubled for our roads and transportation projects.
Investing in our transportation system is imperative. The cost of doing nothing will cost us billions of dollars, kill thousands of jobs, slow the transport of valuable commerce, stifle Texans’ productivity and hamper our quality of life. Our state needs this funding and Texas families deserve better and safer roads. Vote YES on Prop 7.