Texas panel’s wish list for transportation dollars is a whopper

| 12/18/2008

An appointed commission in Texas has determined that the state’s transportation needs total a staggering $313 billion. That’s a large wish list considering the federal government spends less than $60 billion per year on surface transportation.

The 12-member Texas 2030 Commission, appointed by Texas Transportation Commission Chairwoman Deirdre Delisi, made the announcement on Wednesday, Dec. 17, during a presentation of preliminary findings.

The public will have a chance to submit official comments on the report beginning in January, officials said.

Commissioners said the wish list calls for $89 billion for roads and pavement; $36 billion to replace deficient and obsolete bridges; $171 billion for urban mobility, including transit and congestion solutions; and $17 billion for rural mobility and safety improvements.

The total breaks down to a need of $14.2 billion per year, consisting of $11.2 billion from state sources and $3 billion from local sources.

The report does not state how the money would be raised to pay for projects and improvements. Typical ways to raise capital in Texas include fuel taxes, user fees, bonds and tolls.

Texas 2030 Chairman C. Michael Walton compared money spent on transportation with quality of life for Texans.

“Our report should assist state leaders in visualizing the significant transportation challenges Texas and Texans will continue to face, and the economic promise that will come with improved investment choices,” Walton stated in a press release.

Click here to view an executive summary of the commission report.

– By David Tanner, staff writer