Here at Voice For Texas, we say that we are giving property owners a voice the size of Texas. Because Texas is big. And by big, we mean huge. And by huge, we mean as big as… well… Texas.
Naturally, when you have a state this big, one of our top needs and priorities is a safe and efficient transportation system. Good, safe roads are not an option in a state as vast as ours.
Plus, the economic engine of Texas relies on transportation, whether trains, planes, automobiles, or boats. There’s a good reason why so many of our roads start with “FM”: Farm to Market. Texas needs a world-class transportation system to support our world-class economy.
In providing a quality transportation infrastructure, we have to address numerous issues: congestion, capacity, construction and maintenance costs, safety, age and condition of our roadways, and of course, private property rights. We also have to think about the impact of traffic – it’s not just an annoyance on our daily commute, but traffic jams affect air quality, cost of goods, and our overall quality of life. Anyone who’s ever driven through Austin on I-35 during rush hour can tell you about quality of life.
In recent years, highway maintenance and construction have been funded through bond proceeds. Well, today, all bonding programs are exhausted. By 2014, funding will decline 50%. And the cost of poor transportation infrastructure is enormous to all of us. Texas Good Roads estimates that bad roads cost Texans $6.5 billion each year from extra gas spent in traffic, extra repairs to vehicles, and just time lost sitting in traffic. It also costs our economy $10.8 billion each year. Just to cite one example, H-E-B has to charge an extra $0.15 per gallon of milk because of traffic on I-35. This is unacceptable and unsustainable.
None of us wants to spend money we don’t have to. But in this case, we think that an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of the cure. Failing to pay for transportation infrastructure needs today will end up costing taxpayers an arm and a leg tomorrow, and leave an enormous debt for our children.
What we need is a strategic vision for transportation, and a way to pay for maintaining, as well as expanding, our highways, railways, ports, and airports that is sensible, efficient, and well thought out.
At TREPAC – Voice for Texas, we support:
- A statewide, multi-modal transportation system that facilitates safe and efficient movement of people and goods, including sufficient transportation choices such as: roads, freight and passenger rail, waterways, sea and inland ports, and airports;
- Granting to the state’s transportation funds, including the Texas Mobility Fund and the Rail Relocation Fund, dedicated, permanent, sustainable funding sources;
- Stopping all non-education diversions from the state gasoline tax; and
- Charging the Texas Transportation Commission to ensure accountability, transparency, and public involvement in the transportation planning process
And of course, as state and local governments plan out transportation, we believe that the private property rights of homeowners and landowners need to be respected as much as possible.
Our thriving farms and businesses need modern transportation systems by sea, land, and air. Our growing communities deserve good, safe roads that function as roads, not as extremely long parking lots. In a state as big as Texas, we need a transportation system that is as great as Texas.
Won’t you join us to ensure that we have adequate good, safe transportation options for Texas?