The majority of Texas roadways were built more than 40 years ago and are reaching the end of their design life
Austin, Texas (Vocus/PRWEB) March 31, 2011
The Texas Transportation Commission today adopted the 2030 Committee’s updated report on the state of Texas transportation: It’s About Time: Investing in Transportation to Keep Texas Economically Competitive. The report makes it clear that Texans will have to pay more for their transportation system—either through relatively modest increases in taxes and fees to improve the system—or through additional vehicle use and operating costs as a result of deteriorating roads and bridges and increased traffic congestion.
The report deems the current level of transportation funding as “unacceptable,” giving it a failing grade of “F,” predicting worsening road conditions and increasing traffic congestion if the current trend continues. The report goes on to lay out three improved transportation quality scenarios, the funding required for each and the resulting transportation system conditions.
The 2030 Committee also identifies seven “Texas transportation action principles” that state, regional and local leaders should consider in assessing and determining transportation priorities. Finally, the report explores a menu of funding options for decision makers to consider to offset the decline in traditional transportation funding sources (such as the motor fuel tax) and quantifies the cost of transportation for the average Texas household.
“The majority of Texas roadways were built more than 40 years ago and are reaching the end of their design life,” said Dr. C. Michael Walton, chair of the Committee. “This phenomenon —combined with significant declines in transportation funding for maintenance and construction of new roads, plus our state’s rapid population and job growth — has created a ‘perfect storm’ for our transportation system. We must address these challenges to keep Texas competitive and provide a quality of life that is sustainable.”
In July 2010, Texas Transportation Commission Chair Deirdre Delisi reconvened the 2030 Committee and charged this panel of experienced and respected business leaders with developing an updated analysis of the current state of the Texas transportation system, determining the household costs of under-investing in the system and identifying potential revenue options to fund transportation improvements. The Committee released its first report on Texas transportation needs in 2009. The updated report examines pavement and bridge conditions, urban congestion, and rural connectivity between cities and towns for 2015, 2019 and 2035.
“Texas’ strong transportation system has always been a significant part of our growth and is certainly one of our state’s greatest assets,” said David Marcus, Vice Chair of the Committee. “By working together to find innovative solutions and funding mechanisms to maintain this asset, we can ensure Texas’ continued competitiveness.”
The 2030 Committee studied four transportation quality scenarios, each costing the state between
$4 billion and $10.8 billion per year between 2011 and 2035, and analyzed how each would affect the service of the transportation system, the state’s economic competitiveness and the daily life of Texans. The scenarios range from doing nothing new to maintaining conditions as they are now.
The report provides a number of possible funding options to raise the revenue required to fund the transportation system, including capturing existing highway revenue that is currently diverted to other sources; charging additional taxes and fees; generating funds through defined projects, such as toll roads; and raising funds for projects at the local community level. The report notes that Texans currently pay less in transportation fees than the residents of 43 other U.S. states.
The 2030 Committee provided guidance and direction to a team of nationally renowned transportation experts, who conducted the technical analysis for the report. Team members are from the Texas Transportation Institute (The Texas A&M University System); the Center for Transportation Research (The University of Texas at Austin); and The University of Texas at San Antonio.
Attachment: 2030 Committee list
For additional information, contact Rick Davenport, Texas Transportation Institute: (979) 862-3763; r-davenport(at)tamu(dot)edu.
To view the executive summary, full report and appendices, visit: http://texas2030committee.tamu.edu
2030 Committee Members
C. Michael Walton (Chair)
Ernest Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin
David Marcus (Vice Chair)
Marcus, Fairall, Bristol + Co., LLP
Senior Vice President (Retired)
Supply Chain and Logistics
Landgraf, Crutcher and Associates, Inc.
The Honorable Ed Emmett
Harris County Judge
Port of Corpus Christi
Executive Vice President
Associated General Contractors of Texas
Attorney at Law
Executive Vice President - Law and Secretary
BNSF Railway Company
President and Executive Director
Dallas Area Rapid Transit