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Posts Tagged ‘gas tax’

There are no new ideas, but there are plenty of bad ideas

There’s so much wrong with what Greg Abbott wants for Texas that it’s hard to know where to begin. In his first major policy address as a gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Greg Abbott proposed tighter constitutional limits on state spending and increased constraints on the multibillion-dollar Rainy Day Fund. Abbott laid out his “Working Texans” […]

Maybe the same failed approach will work this time

It could happen, right? Transportation experts now estimate that the state needs $5billion a year to keep Texas moving. The proposal that fell apart in the House this week would add less than a billion annually. And after months of wrangling, relations between the House and Senate have grown increasingly testy. Republicans, who control both […]

House passes different transportation bill than the Senate passed

Our endless summer of special sessions isn’t over yet. The Texas House on Thursday gave final passage to a measure to boost funding for transportation projects, though few members expect it to survive the Senate without significant changes. After more than an hour of debate, the House voted 108-25 for House Joint Resolution 2, clearing […]

Elsewhere in the House

No action on transportation yet. House budget writers on Tuesday ended a hearing on transportation funding with no clear decision about how to raise money for Texas roads. The House Appropriations Committee is considering several proposals to see which has the most support, even if that means trying to pass a combination of bills in […]

Transportation funding shouldn’t be intractable

As previously noted, Sens. Tommy Williams and Robert Nichols want to take another crack at finding additional funds for transportation. The problem, as always, is political

Still arguing about road funding

I still don’t quite get why the obvious solution is so blithely dismissed. With most of the work of developing a state budget behind them, lawmakers can now drill deeper into the state’s spending plan to find a way to fund billions of dollars in road maintenance, highway upgrades and other projects under the umbrella […]

There’s no such thing as a free road

I have an issue with this. Texas’ boom of toll roads has made the “free” part of freeway mean something different lately. As toll lanes become the preferred choice for adding capacity to Texas roads, a growing number of state lawmakers and toll critics are looking for assurances that state-built freeways will stay open to […]

We’re not going to solve our transportation issues without new revenue

The choice isn’t whether or not to pay, it’s how do you want to pay. Despite broad agreement that repairing and improving Texas highways will cost more money than it has in the past, legislators split Monday on whether now is the time to impose new transportation taxes or fees. House members attending the annual […]

What they’re saying about transportation

So far in all the stories I’ve read about the beginning of the legislative session, education and transportation are two of the biggest items everyone talks about. Here’s a sample from the Chron. Story #1: [Rep. Ed] Thompson said funding for transportation is another high priority going into the session. “The gas tax has not […]

The Lege is going to have to spend some money

Whether they want to or not, there are a lot of issues that will be demanding attention and money from the Legislature when they convene in January. For example, there’s water. House Speaker Joe Straus said Friday the state’s water supply will be among his priorities after years of inaction by lawmakers. In the previous […]

We got those bad road blues

So many bad roads, so little funding to maintain them. Issues including traffic congestion, damage to vehicles from roads needing repair and costs incurred in accidents caused by insufficient safety features on roadways cost drivers in Texas $23 billion annually, according to a study released Tuesday by a national transportation research group. “Texas has fallen […]

Roundabouts in the sky

I have three things to say about this. Imagine driving into downtown Houston on interstates 10 or 45, or U.S. 59, and having to merge with all other incoming traffic onto an elevated, one-way traffic circle around the cluster of skyscrapers. If downtown isn’t your final destination, you would stay on the circle until you […]

Toll hike

I have three things to say about this. Starting in September, that jaunt on a Harris County toll road might save you time, but it won’t spare your change. Unless Commissioners Court intervenes, rates at main-lane toll plazas on the Sam Houston, Westpark Tollway, Hardy Toll Road and the one toll booth on the Fort […]

Roads don’t pay for themselves

Ezra Klein: The 18.4-cents-per-gallon tax is already inadequate to fund current infrastructure obligations, not least because, in recent years, Americans have been driving less and buying more fuel-efficient cars. The good news is that we’re using less gasoline. The bad news is what that does to highway funding. In 2008, Congress had to kick in […]

Don’t forget Texas’ debt

Now that Perry’s Prayerpalooza is behind us and we breathlessly await his Presidential decision, keep this op-ed by former State Rep. Jim Dunnam in mind whenever you hear Perry pontificate about the national debt. Before Rick Perry became governor, Texas was a pay-as-you-go state for roads, meaning we used current gas tax receipts to pay […]

By the way, we have no money for roads

Just another issue we won’t be dealing with this session. During the next 20 years, the Texas Department of Transportation will need $315 billion to spend on the state’s roads and freeways for maintenance and construction just to keep traffic from getting worse, according to a report commissioned by the Texas Transportation Commission. The gasoline […]

Texas lags on rail: Film at 11

I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this story before, but here it is again anyway. According to a study commissioned by the Texas Transportation Commission, during the next 20 years, more than $300 billion in 2009 dollars needs to be invested in Texas roads and freeways just to keep commute times from worsening. Adjust that figure […]

On the road to nowhere

Use your own favorite cliche for this. Texas soon will be shelling out more per year to pay back money it borrowed for road construction than it spends from its quickly vanishing pile of cash to build new highways. Legislative leaders characterize the state’s transportation funding as a crisis. Most Texans, they say, are unaware […]

More on paying for roads and other forms of transportation

Given that the private toll road debate is set to gear up again in Texas, it is fortuitous that the Texas Public Interest Research Group, a/k/a TexPIRG, chose last week to release a report called Do Roads pay For Themselves? You can read the whole report, or you can skip to their press release for […]

Bumpy roads

This story is mostly about how Houston ranks against other cities in road conditions. Of interest to me is the reasons why we’re not likely to get any better: At the Houston-Galveston Area Council, the transportation planning body for Harris and seven surrounding counties, roughly $50 billion has been trimmed from a $157 billion, 25-year […]

DART may take a big step back

Dallas Area Rapid Transit, which has built out a much more extensive rail network than Metro and which has plans for a lot more, may instead scrap most of those plans due to serious financial issues. Final decisions are months away, but Chief Financial Officer David Leininger warned the board that DART probably will have […]

D Magazine on John Carona

Interesting profile, worth a read, on State Sen. John Carona, who’s become somewhat of a radical in his party for actually being old-fashioned enough to try to solve problems and make government work. I think he’s right about this: With their mantra of no new taxes, the Republican-controlled Legislature does not have the money to […]

The vehicle miles tax

For all the talk about the need to raise the gas tax in Texas to meet our transportation needs, there is another possible way to do it, which is now under study: The vehicle miles tax. The Texas Transportation Commission has directed a fresh study of the idea, and it is not alone. There are […]

KBH’s transportation plan

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day seems like an odd time to be rolling out policy initiatives, especially in a campaign that’s been going on for months, so I’ll be brief with this. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on Tuesday offered a sweeping plan to overhaul transportation planning in Texas if she is […]

Raising the gas tax

This is long overdue. Members of the Texas Senate’s Transportation Committee said Tuesday that an increase in the 20-cents-per-gallon state fuel tax may be necessary to overcome a drastic shortage of money for new roads. “We are in the critical position in this state where we are growing and will need more roads. But we […]

Senate passes TxDOT sunset bill, red light cameras not dead yet

The Senate approved its version of HB300, the TxDOT sunset bill, and as expected it has some major differences from the House version. Plans to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for transportation projects in North Texas progressed Monday night as the Senate approved a massive transportation bill that gives counties authority to ask voters […]

Taking taxation aversion to its logical extreme

This story just boggles my mind. Think traffic congestion is bad now? Wait until 2012. That’s when Texas’ highway fund — which relies on a motor fuels tax that hasn’t been raised since 1991 — will be out of money for new construction contracts, according to state senators and transportation officials urging action now on […]

Morrison speaks on the Grand Parkway

Fort Bend County Commissioner Richard Morrison writes about the recently-greenlighted Grand Parkway Segment E and the possibility that stimulus funds could be used to fund what will become a toll road. If Segment E is funded from the stimulus money and finally constructed, exorbitant tolls from this segment will be used to finance and construct […]