Transportation Infrastructure Questions

Your Chamber of Commerce represents you in Austin and Washington on legislative issues. To do a good job, the Chamber staff needs to know what you, the members, think about key issues. The answers to these questions will help in the creation of the Chamber's legislative agenda for 2019.

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* 1. Texas should preserve the dedicated transportation funds created by Prop 1 and Prop 7, which provide about 20% of state funds for transportation infrastructure.

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* 2. Texas should allow toll roads to be built to ease congestion when funds available from taxes are not adequate for construction.  (In this option, the only free lanes are the access roads.  All main lanes are tolled, like the George Bush.)

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* 3. Texas should allow managed toll lanes to be built to ease congestion when funds available from taxes are not adequate for construction.  (In this option drivers can use free lanes or choose to pay a toll to use the managed lanes and avoid congestion, like the "Express" lanes on 183.)

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* 4. Texas should encourage public-private partnerships to build transportation infrastructure.

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* 5. Texas should encourage and support the development of autonomous vehicles.

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* 6. Texas should allow reasonable use of eminent domain to build highways, railroads, pipelines, transmission lines, telecommunication infrastructure and other utilities.

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* 7. Texas should support high speed rail built with private funds using reasonable eminent domain.

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* 8. Texas should allow regions (like North Texas) to impose local taxes to fund transportation infrastructure.

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* 9. Texas should allocate transportation funding to regions using historical funding formulas, not moving all the funds to one region based on severity of congestion.

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* 10. Texas should devise a method to collect an alternative tax on vehicles that use Texas roads but do not use gasoline.

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* 11. Texas should raise the gas tax and dedicate the funds to transportation infrastructure and education.

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* 12. Texas should index the gas tax to inflation and dedicate the increases to transportation infrastructure and education.

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* 13. Texas should determine a lower but safe "cap" on the rainy day fund and use excess to fund transportation and education.  The rainy day fund will have $11 billion at the end of this year.  The cap today is about $16 billion.  The most the fund has been used in a year is $4 billion.  (The cap is the most the legislature can put into the fund.)

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* 14. The Texas Legislature has imposed an artificial cap on spending based on the spending in prior years.  This cap would reduce the excess rainy day funds that could be spent.  It would reduce funds from a new revenue source that could be spent.  The cap should be eliminated.

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* 15. Texas should aggressively pursue Federal funds.  In the last year for which numbers are available Texas received $.57 back for every $1 we sent to Washington.

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