Maybe Texas Should Actually Maintain Its Roads Instead of Building New Ones, Wacky Left-Wing Study Suggests

Categories: Transportation

Thumbnail image for TrafficTexasTransportationInstitute.jpg
Texas Transportation Institute
Here's an idea. What if, instead of maxing out its credit card on a road-building spree, Texas took care of the roads it already has? Crazy talk, right? If the past decade has proved anything, it's that the state's fiscal conservatism ends as soon as the asphalt begins.

So who, aside from a minority of policymakers in Austin, is peddling this pay-for-what-you-have nonsense? Ironically enough, it's an Agenda 21-style lefty group in D.C. called Smart Growth America, whose self-styled mission is to do things like "conserve energy and natural resources" and "protect environmental and aesthetic quality."

The nonprofit released a report on Wednesday highlighting the dangers -- fiscal and physical -- of states focusing on road-building over maintenance.

Texas, the report says, has a tremendous backlog of deteriorating roads and bridges that will cost $7.7 billion to keep in good repair.

Needless to say, the $1.2 billion-per-year voters may put toward transportation come November won't solve the problem.

SGA disputes the notion that new roads equal economic growth. Mostly, they just shuffle existing jobs and households within a region. Investing heavily in maintenance -- or, better yet, public transit -- delivers more bang for the buck in terms of job creation and is more likely to spur development.

Texas officials know that they're way behind on road maintenance. Former TxDOT chief Phil Wilson said last year the agency needs $1 billion per year for maintenance alone. He was also pushing for $3 billion to fund new roads, suggesting that a paradigm shift has not yet taken place.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
29 comments
ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

What happened?  The stimulus was supposed to fix all of this.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

This ignores the most important factor in deciding whether to build or maintain: speculative land buyers aka developers aka political contributors.

WylieH
WylieH

Steve Blow and his 5,400 neighbors in Sunnyvale just got a brand new, $25 million overpass, because (apparently) the existing, perfectly good overpass caused trucks to have to slow down, and there had been two accidents in a 3 1/2 year period.  That works out to $4,629 for every man, woman & child living there.

There isn't really that much development around that specific interchange (Collins & US-80)... also, not sure why the other multiple interchanges with both US-80 and I-30 located within a couple of miles couldn't be used as an alternative... although it appears using those routes could add another 30 seconds to 1 minute in travel time.

Meanwhile, in Dallas, we can't get money to stripe crosswalks, fix potholes or maintain the landscape along the "freeways."

See:  http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/mesquite/headlines/20100715-sunnyvale-has-high-hopes-for-new-overpass.ece

timdickey
timdickey

It's disgusting that there's no mass transit component in any of the massive new road construction going on in North Texas. A wasted opportunity that our children and grandchildren will curse us for one day.

ruddski
ruddski

People are so eager to move to Texas, they won't give a crap what shape the roads are in.

jesdynf
jesdynf

We have this problem in Arlington. A bunch of old people who skimped on road maintenance and put the money in their pockets instead of maintaining critical infrastructure think that we should be overly concerned about their opinions about spending priorities.


It'd be best if they maintained a respectful silence while people who haven't failed seek to solve the problem they left us.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

Part of the problem is that gasoline taxes have not kept up with inflation. The gasoline tax has not gone up since gasoline was below $1/gallon. 


I don't agree with saying that the state does not need new roads. But, I do believe that we need to do a better job raising the money to pay for them.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

At least Eric finally admitted that there is in fact a Wacky Left Wing

Greg820
Greg820

The cost of building and maintaining roads are so enormous that it can only be accomplished by sharing the financial burden amongst all the citizens of Texas.  It is, therefore, a socialist conspiracy perpetuated at the highest levels of government.  I should not have to pay for anything that I do not approve of and that does not directly effect me.  I have a 4x4 so I don't need good roads.  My quality of life may be crap but I AM FREE!!!

Wow, sorry about that. My cubicle neighbor had his radio on AM.

ruddski
ruddski

@colonel

Couldn't find a shovel that was ready.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@WylieH  

Wylie, I for one am very glad that that overpass is being replaced.  On the west side of the bridge the westbound lanes had an incredibly nasty S - curve.  More than once my hair turned white.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@timdickey I think that very same thing every time I have to get on the Tollway north to 380, or when I hop on 161/bush Turnpike/whatever it's called from I-30 out there by the lake all the way to I-20 in Grand Prairie, a name I've yet to see in real life. Of course the biggest omission by far is the Calatrava designed LBJ tollspressway.

MissMacy
MissMacy

@ruddski Or how much water we have. I still don't understand why Texas continues to build new housing when we don't have the infrastructure.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@jesdynf  but look at that pretty I30 and all its new bridges and exits!  Can someone tell me when the 360/I30 interchange is going to revamped to at least a late 80's clover interchange?  

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Drive west on I-30 through Arlington and look to your left. The Temple and The Deathstar are why your roads are shit and you have no mass transit.

ruddski
ruddski

@jesdynf

Dissing Vandergriff is a hanging offense in Arlington.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@Tim.Covington  

It is not so much that the gas taxes have not  been inflation adjusted; but rather, the gas tax goes to items other than roads, for example, 25% goes to education, apparently because school children travel on roads to get to school so it is therefore transportation related.

dingo
dingo

@Greg820  

You can listen to whatever radio station you want to on your increasingly long commute due to the 1060 new residents arriving in Texas every day based upon 07/12 - 07/13 numbers.

jesdynf
jesdynf

@P1Gunter Correct but incomplete, P1. It's true that the amount Arlington would have to spend to join the DART co-op is equal to the amount we raised the sales tax for the stadium, and it's true that we don't have enough room in our sales tax ceiling to do both, but Arlington's voters were already stealing from the future and pocketing the cash, and their indolence was already laying the groundwork for the crumbling transit grid we have today.

kduble
kduble

@Tim.Covington  No, the problem is that the gas taxes haven't been adjusted. 1992 dollars won't buy much road today. When you consider federal and local contributions, Texas spends more on roads than we collect in motor fuels taxes.

Anon
Anon

Yes, it does. Actually the number is closer to 1,200 per day.

dingo
dingo

@Greg820 @dingo 

Is that where you'll be changing your transfer case fluids semi-regularly?

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...