Transportation Commission

The Transportation Commission regular monthly meeting will be a virtual online meeting on Thursday, September 24th. The meeting will begin at 11 AM.

Legislature

Committee hearings have been postponed.

THE CHALLENGE FACING TEXAS - Funding the Diverse Transportation Needs of a Vast and Rapidly Growing State Transportation Advocates of Texas is a statewide coalition that brings together cities, counties, established community and regional organizations and business interests to support additional funding to address the challenging highway transportation demands facing the state. We support funding solutions for infrastructure improvements that reduce congestion, enhance safety, move commerce, create jobs and improve the quality of life in Texas.

 

New Texans Don't Bring
Any Roads With Them

MORE THAN 1,100 NEW RESIDENTS every day help make Texas an economic powerhouse. Most bring their cars and trucks but all leave their roads behind. The Texas population of 29 million has increased 70% since 1990.


Informative Reports Available

Our LIBRARY includes some very valuable information about Texas transportation. They are here for you to download.

 

 

 

Rebuilding Interstates Requires More Funding

The Interstate Highway System is now 64 years old. Many sections have passed their useful life and must be rebuilt. TxDOT has been at the task for the past 25 years but much still must be done. TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit, has issued a report that looks at the interstate system's use, condition and benefits plus the findings of a 2019 federal report prepared by the Transportation Research Board. Among the findings is that vehicle miles traveled on Texas interstate highways has increased 45% in less than two decades. At the same time there is a persistent backlog of unfunded construction projects. [Read More]

 

Boyer Now Chairing TAoT

Vic Boyer, president and CEO of the San Antonio Mobility Coalition, is the new board chairman of the Transportation Advocates of Texas. He replaces the late Gary Bushell who found it necessary to resign because of health challenges. Drew Campbell of Dallas is TAoT's chair-elect and chair of the Legislative Relations Committee. [Read More]

 

 

 

Advocates Launch YouTube Channel

Transportation Advocates of Texas has launched a new video series called "Go Ahead" online. It is a statewide look at the issues facing the transportation infrastructure community through conversations with industry experts, elected officials and advocates from all over Texas. In the debut episode, advocacy leaders from our state's major hubs tackle some of the tough questions we are all asking right now and how we move to a place of more certainty together.
Video Link: https://youtu.be/3UOSheILx4s

 

Nichols Traces History of Texas Highway Funding

In the 25 years from 1950 to 1975 Texas built an average of 2,000 miles of new highway every year. Today that number is less than 100 miles a year. By 2003 funding was so low that Texas was not even keeping up with highway system preservation. Those are just some of the nuggets from a fascinating review of Texas highway funding presented by Texas Senator Robert Nichols, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and a former member of the Texas Transportation Commission, during the 2020 Texas Transportation Forum. [Read More + Video Link]

 

Thinking Beyond the Gas Tax

New vehicle propulsion systems will eventually reduce the number of vehicles burning gasoline or diesel. It is important that Texas decision-makers begin to think beyond the gas tax to build and maintain our highway system. Mike Heiligenstein, executive director of the Central Texas Mobility Authority, has penned some observations on where we go from here. He says relying on the gas tax to fund new roadways — and cover the costs of maintaining existing roadways — is not a viable option. [Read More]

 

More States Put Road Fees on Electric Vehicles

Twenty states now impose road use fees on electric vehicle owners in an attempt to have them pay their fair share of road construction and maintenance costs. Those fees range from $50 to $200 per year in addition to traditional vehicle registration fees. Ohio, Alabama, Kansas and Hawaii join the list of states charging the fee in 2020. While electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles comprise less than 2% of new vehicles sales, automotive manufacturers are gearing up to build many more in the coming years. As they hit the road the result will be continued reduction in gas and diesel tax revenues. While proposals have been introduced in the Legislature, Texas has not yet considered legislation to pass additional fees for electric vehicles. [Read More]

 

House Interim Charges Focus on Funding

Examining whether current funding sources are keeping pace with Texas' highway funding needs to accommodate population and economic development growth will be a priority for the Texas House Transportation Committee in the coming months. That is a key interim charge presented to the committee by the Office of the House Speaker. They will also take a hard look at programs that might contribute to greater road safety and a reduction in fatalities. [Read More]

 

Senate Interim Charges Center on Efficiency

The Texas Senate Transportation Committee will spend time over the coming year looking at opportunities for improving cost efficiencies in delivery of highway projects. It is one of 10 interim charges presented to the committee by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. They will also evaluate major highway projects that have begun since voter approval of Prop 1 and Prop 7 funding. [Read More]

 

Advocates Keep Spotlight on Highway Funding Gap

The Transportation Advocates of Texas and our partners again worked during the 2019 session of the Texas Legislature to maintain existing funding sources and find ways to do more to meet the state's transportation needs. Our mission ahead is to help protect past funding successes and to advocate for additional revenue to ensure sustainable funding for transportation investments. Part of that funding should come from the increasing number of electric vehicles that will be on our roadways in the years ahead. [Read More]

 

More States Raise Gas Taxes

Four more states raised their gasoline and diesel tax rates this year bringing to 31 the number of states that have approved increases in the past decade. Ohio, Illinois, Arkansas and Alabama are the latest. Texas faces major challenges including aging highways and bridges, inflation, greater fuel efficiency and shaky funding from a federal Highway Trust Fund described as near insolvency.  Texas’ motor fuels tax rates have not been increased since 1991 and fail to produce the revenue needed to meet these growing challenges. [Read More]

 

Robie Vaughn Appointed to TxDOT Commission

Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Robert C. "Robie" Vaughn to the Texas Transportation Commission for a term that expires in 2025. Vaughn of Dallas is the owner of Vaughn Capital Partners, LLC and Vaughn Petroleum, Ltd. Commissioner Vaughn participated in his first meeting in August 2019, joining the 3 other commissioners in approving the $77 billion Unified Transportation Program for the coming 10 years. Chairman Bruce Bugg appointed Vaughn to serve on the department’s Congestion Relief Task Force.  Vaughn is a third-generation oilman and serves on several board associated with the University of Texas.  Jeff Austin, who had served since 2011, left the Transportation Commission in August.  Gov. Abbott still has one more spot to fill on the five-member commission. Commissioners serve staggered six-year terms.

 

Prop 1 Highway Funding Extended to 2034

With near unanimous votes in both the Texas Senate and House, state lawmakers have approved a 10-year extension of highway funding authorized by voter-approved Proposition 1 in 2014. When lawmakers set up Prop 1 they included a potential termination date that would cut off funds unless extended. It is now extended until 2034. The measure was sponsored by Senator Robert Nichols, chairman of Senate Transportation, and Rep. John Zerwas, chairman of House Appropriations. [Read More]

 

Texas Still Has a Major Highway Funding Gap

Hundreds of identified major highway projects across Texas have been identified but simply cannot be considered with currently available funding. Statewide the list of needed but unfunded projects in the 10-year planning horizon exceeds $60 billion. TAoT members have been highlighting this warning in a series of newspaper op-ed pieces. Texas has become a magnet for growth and whether they are from South Carolina or South Asia, new Texans don't bring roads with them. Despite all the orange barrels we see, highway improvements are not keeping up. [Read More]

 

Texas Pushing to End Status as Only Donor State

Texas only receives 95 cents in federal transportation funding for every dollar Texans pay directly into the federal Highway Trust Fund. The result is the loss of about $940 million a year. Members of the congressional delegation from Texas, led by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas, are pushing fellow lawmakers to address this longstanding inequity in the share of federal transportation funding Texans receive compared to what the state contributes. Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas has been denied a fair return on federal fuel taxes for far too long. [Read More]

 

Federal Highway Investment Needed Now

Transportation advocates say the time is now for transportation investment by the federal government. Bob Lanham, a Transportation Advocates of Texas board member, made the case for a sustainable, long-term solution to funding the Highway Trust Fund at a hearing held in Washington by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. [Read More]

 

No Surprises in 100 Top Congested Roads

The 2018 list of 100 most congested roadway segments in Texas is out and it is not surprising to motorists in southwest Houston that the top spot on the list is again Loop 610 West going by the Galleria between Interstate 10 and Interstate 69.  Moving up from No. 3 to No. 2 is a five-mile section of the I-69 Southwest Freeway from Loop 610 east to the SH 288 South Freeway. And 15 of the top 100 most congested highway sections were on the urban sections of Interstate 35. [Read More]

 

Time to Get Serious About Infrastructure

It's not easy to get people excited about highways and bridges but the clock is ticking on old infrastructure. Two Texas A&M University transportation leaders think we need to find a way to jump start the conversation about how we are going to pay for the highway upgrades that will be unavoidable in the coming years. It is going to be expensive; there's no way around it. Gregory Winfree and Zachary Grasley believe we must ramp up the conversation about how we are going to pay for what must be done. [Read More]

 

Gasoline Tax Rates Up in 7 States

In 2018, gasoline tax rates went up in Oklahoma, South Carolina, Indiana, Maryland, Tennessee, Vermont and Iowa. The Oklahoma rate is now the same as the rate in Texas -- 20 cents a gallon in state tax and 18.4 cents in federal tax. The Texas rate has not been raised since 1991 and joins Arizona, New Mexico, Mississippi, Missouri and Alaska with the lowest tax rates in the nation. The Texas gas tax has lost most of its construction purchasing power over the past 27 years. More than half of the states have raised their gas tax in the past five years including several that have indexed rates to adjust to inflation. [Read More]

 

Metro 8 Chambers Urge Use of All Financing Tools

The state's eight largest chambers of commerce -- the Metro 8 -- are urging Gov. Greg Abbott to allow the use of currently available highway financing mechanisms such as tolled managed lanes. In a letter the Metro 8 says all options are needed to fund projects that will relieve congestion and avoid a situation where companies no longer see Texas as a viable place to expand and create jobs. They point out that tools such as tolled managed lanes will advance projects that have been in the pipeline for years. [Read More]

 

 

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