“A first step would be for Congress to reauthorize the federal highway trust fund and ensure that states get the money back for transportation projects they already have sent to the federal government,” said Bill Hammond, Texas Association of Business CEO. “We are calling on House Speaker John Boehner, while he is in San Antonio, to get this issue moving. Our transportation issues will only get worse without reauthorization.”
There are also things the state of Texas can do to provide new money for transportation and streamline the process for getting new projects built.
“It used to be a one size fits all funding system,” said Hammond. “Our gasoline tax paid for almost all of our road construction, but that hasn’t been the case for a long time. Now we need many alternatives for pay for road construction.”
Among them, Hammond lists an expansion of public/private partnerships, dedication of all or part of the motor vehicle sales tax to transportation, increasing the vehicle registration fee and ending all non-educational diversions of gas tax money away from transportation projects.
“Those things, along with the passage of Proposition One in November, will give us the funding we need to begin to address the problems we have now,” said Hammond.
Proposition One is the transportation funding constitutional amendment on the November ballot. It will use existing revenues from oil and gas production taxes to pay for new, non-tolled, transportation projects.
“The business and transportation communities strongly support Proposition One,” said Hammond.
Hammond also recommends an expansion of using the design/build concept on more road projects. “Doing that will save us money in the long run, because it will speed up construction of new projects. The faster these projects are built, the cheaper they will be, and the more impact they will have on solving some of our serious traffic nightmares.”
Founded in 1922, the Texas Association of Business is a broad-based, bipartisan organization representing more than 4,000 small and large Texas employers and 200 local chambers of commerce.