There’s no denying it: Texas is an economic powerhouse. Our state is a number one destination to live, work, and raise a family. All this growth and prosperity, however, has brought with it one downside: traffic. Because it’s not just our economy that’s booming, so is our population.
While the Texas Legislature has made historic investments to build more roads over the last several years, the reality is there just aren’t enough state resources to keep up with demand. People keep coming, and traffic congestion worsens every year.
If Texas wants to maintain its trajectory of leading the country in economic growth, job creation, and innovation, we must tackle traffic head on. Today we have congestion, but tomorrow we have gridlock. It’s time to get Texans moving.
Just how daunting is our challenge? Here are some quick facts to help put it in perspective:
The state gas tax, 75 percent of which is earmarked for the State Highway Fund, was last raised more than 25 years ago; the tax has remained at 20 cents per gallon since 1991. When adjusted for inflation, this amounts to nearly half of what it is in today’s dollars.
In 1960, 33 percent of the state’s overall budget went toward transportation projects compared to 11 percent in 2016.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates it will require about $60 billion in the next five to 10 years to improve connectivity and traffic flow in Texas’ urban areas.
In Texas’ five largest metropolitan areas, the average commuter wastes 52 hours in traffic each year; this number is expected to increase to 58 hours by 2020 if drastic changes aren’t made.
- The average American pays an additional $516 each year in added vehicle operating costs due to driving on poorly maintained roads. But Texas drivers pay more, with additional costs averaging $838 in San Antonio, $815 in El Paso, $791 in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, $772 in Houston, $716 in McAllen and $549 in Corpus Christi.