October 6, 2014 | By: Maria Matthews

Texans have an opportunity to increase their state transportation funding coffers when they go to the voting booth on November 4.

Proposition 1 is a statewide ballot measure that will dedicate a portion of the state’s oil and gas tax collections to the State Highway Fund. If the measure passes, $1.7 billion could be transferred to the fund in the first year alone.  This would prove a significant step toward meeting the funding needs of many transportation projects.

The measure, a constitutional amendment, reads as follows:

“The constitutional amendment providing for the use and dedication of certain money transferred to the state highway fund to assist in the completion of transportation construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation projects, not to include toll roads.”

A “yes” vote will ensure a reliable source of transportation funding without the creation of new taxes, tolls or user fees. When you talk with a neighbor about the election, remember this:

✓        Designated funds can only be used for construction, maintenance, rehabilitation, and acquiring right-of-way for public roads.

✓        If approved by voters, 50% of the money currently destined for the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund, or Rainy Day Fund, would be redirected to the State Highway Fund.

✓        The proposition also calls for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to identify $100 million in savings to reduce long-term debt.

✓        Calls for the creation of a 10 person committee (5 State Senators, 5 State House members) to determine a “sufficient balance” for the Economic Stabilization Fund.

Ultimately, voting yes is choosing to invest in mobility for Texas and a stronger economy.

The measure is currently supported by the ASCE Texas Section in conjunction with the larger Move Texas Forward Coalition.  Move Texas Forward is committed to improving Texas infrastructure and keeping roads capable of supporting the growth of the state.  The coalition is made up of engineering societies and associations, Chambers of Commerce, transportation councils/coalitions, as well as oil and gas industry organizations.

While it will not solve all of Texas’ transportation funding challenges, making funds available to the State Highway Fund is just one step in the right direction for Texas.  For this reason, ASCE encourages Texans to vote “yes” on Proposition 1 in November.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

— required *
— required *

4 Responses

  1. JimV says:

    As a Texas-based Professional Engineer with 40+ years’ of directly relevant experience, I strongly encourage every Texas voter to cast a “No” ballot for the statewide Constitutional amendment boondoggle in November in spite of their natural inclination and strong desire for betterment of conditions in the state road system. A “Yes” vote will primarily fund continuation of a longstanding “build it and they will come” induced-development syndication-kickback scheme triggered by a stimulus effect of new-alignment road projects in largely undeveloped fringe areas of every metropolitan region where political and economic insiders previously acquired lands in anticipation of value enhancement from the impending approval and then existence of said road projects.

    If this funding was focused solely toward improved operational efficiency, safety upgrades, maintenance and reconstruction of the existing road network, I’d be all for it 110% — but far too much of the new money will be allocated to an array of new-alignment “congestion relief” or “economic development” projects promoted by local development and construction interests or eager-to-build highway department engineering staff (the remnant left from the Texas Highway Department glory days, anyway), so I’m not a supporter.

    To be blunt, I consider this Legislative sleight-of-hand as another example of gross political malfeasance that will primarily benefit a very select group of the state’s citizens who play a high-level “real money” game well above the public’s awareness and repeatedly launder a significant share of their profits from the enhanced-value syndication into targeted charitable and political contributions, all of which are designed to further deepen the insiders’ influence for the next round — especially to promote local bond issuance to make actual development feasible, provide lobbyists and favored “think tank” institutions with cash, or elect and appoint the kind of folks who will continue the game). The only way to kill such a corrupt institutional environment is to first expose its corrupt nature, then consciously and deliberately change the rules governing the hidden game’s stimulus trigger to prevent continuation of the same-old “business as usual” practices — and a “No” vote on this Constitutional amendment would assertively begin that process.

  2. Stephen Crawford says:

    As a professional engineer in the state of Texas for the past 18 years, I have seen significant increases in traffic and congestion during this time. Ever since the transportation referendum was announced, I have been made aware of the problems with our roadway systems along with the ever-growing population of the state. Our current system is unsustainable and current funding for maintenance and improvements is only a small fraction of what is needed each year to address these problems, These are statewide problems, from the unsafe smaller roads in Midland/Odessa to the growth of Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. Every option to address these issues should be on the board and it is only possible if constitutional amendments like Proposition 1 are passed. Proposition 1 will not solve the entire problem, but it is a solid first step in the process. And we need a first step to take a giant leap. I strongly encourage all engineers in the State of Texas to Vote “Yes” for Proposition 1.

  3. Brian Manning says:

    Vote Yes on Texas Proposition 1

    Right now, Texas falls $5 billion short annually trying to fund its transportation needs. Proposition One, if passed, would not only secure a significant portion of this deficit, it will also send a clear message to state legislators that Texans are serious about highway funding. Successful passage of Prop. 1 is crucial to raising additional funding in the upcoming session, beginning in January.

  4. Curtis Beitel says:

    As a Professional Engineer in Texas for the past 20 years, I too have seen the congestion and felt the need for adequate funding to maintain our highways, as our economy has continued to diversify and grow. Far from benefitting a select few insiders, every Texan benefits from the mobility and low distribution and shipping costs. But our highways are continuing to age, with many growing older than their design life. In 2004 TXDOT’s maintenance and rehabilitation needs surpassed their traditional funding from the gas tax, and we have continued to lose ground ever since. Proposition 1 will add billions in reliable transportation funding – an estimated $1.4 billion in the first year alone – without new taxes, fees or debt. It is the politically responsible solution, and I urge every Texan to vote “Yes” on Proposition 1.