Dallas is booming. Companies are moving their headquarters here and people are relocating in droves to take advantage of good jobs, lower taxes, reasonable housing prices, and the warm, friendly environment.
The US Census shows North Texas is the fastest-growing metropolitan region in the nation, with some 250-300 people moving here each day. The region's population is now more than 7.5 million with no signs of slowing down.
Life is certainly good here. But our transportation infrastructure has a hard time keeping up with the growth. This is particularly true for thousands of North Texas commuters who waste as many as 52 hours a year trapped in traffic on I-635 between US 75 and I-30, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates it will require about $60 billion in the next 5 to 10 years to reduce congestion in Texas’ urban areas. But where will the State find that kind of money?
While the State has made great strides toward building more roads in recent years, the reality is that state spending is unable to keep up with the demand. The state gas tax, 75 percent of which is earmarked for the State Highway Fund, has been set at 20 cents per gallon since 1991.
Adjusted for inflation, this means the gas tax is accomplishing less with each passing year. In addition, state spending is shifting to other areas; only 11 percent of the state’s overall budget went toward transportation infrastructure projects in 2016, as compared to making up 33 percent of the state budget back in 1960. (Source: Sen. Robert Nichols)
Yet North Texas is experiencing one of the biggest booms in its history. With a steady stream of corporate relocations, the population is expected to nearly double over the next 25 years.
All infrastructure funding options must remain on the table to provide for all the new Texans and to preserve the quality of life that makes the Lone Star State a great place to live.
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