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2015 Transportation op-ed

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02Nov2015

2015 Transportation op-ed

Our state lawmakers passed several bills this year addressing the important topic of transportation and now it is the voters’ turn to have their voices heard. The Collin County Business Alliance (CCBA) encourages voters to approve Proposition 7 on November 3.  If approved, Proposition 7 will provide additional funding to improve highway infrastructure to meet today’s needs and prepare  for  future growth of Texas and our region.

As Collin County continues its rapid growth by attracting new businesses to the area, it is vitally important that our community has the infrastructure to accommodate this growth.  Proposition 7 would allow for over $2.5 billion per year to be transferred to the state highway fund to help in the construction, completion and maintenance of  state roads and highways.  This funding will be on top of the $1.6 billion provided by last year’s Proposition 1, a measure also supported by CCBA and overwhelmingly approved by voters.

As Governor Abbott recently pointed out, Proposition 7 will provide an unprecedented level of funding for Texas highways without raising taxes or fees.  The new road funding would come from dedicating a portion of the state’s existing sales and use tax revenue to the highway fund.  And, this new money cannot be used for toll roads. Additionally, important legislation passed by the Texas Legislature this year will require the use of performance-based transportation planning processes to help direct these funds to the most congested areas of the state in a more efficient manner.

Collin County experienced rapid growth with major new projects announced on a regular basis. Toyota Motor Corp. will move its North American headquarters to Plano from California.  Additionally, FedEx Office, Liberty Mutual, Capital One, and others are adding new or expanded corporate campuses.  The new Dallas Cowboys facility, projects along the “5 billion dollar mile” and other mixed-use developments will add new hotels, retailers, and offices to our county.  The combined effect of these projects means the number of new residents – and drivers – in Collin County will continue to grow at a rapid pace. This growth keeps our economy vibrant and creates jobs.

Without the proper infrastructure and investment in our roads and highways, residents will spend more time in their cars and away from their families. In addition, the area might become less attractive to businesses and companies if they choose to make new investments elsewhere.

Four important thoroughfares in the Collin County area made TxDOT’s top 100 “Most Congested” Roadways in Texas list in 2014: US 75 between President George Bush Tollway (PGBT) and SH 190 (#18); North Dallas Tollway between LBJ and PGBT (#43); US 75 between US 380 and SH 399 (#68); and Coit Road between Frankford Road and Forest Lane (#100).  TxDOT estimates the congestion on these roads creates almost 1 million hours of delays per mile and costs area drivers $120 million each year.

As our county continues to grow, strong infrastructure will help maintain a high quality of life for the community and a vibrant local business environment.  Regional plans show that the Dallas-Fort Worth area will face a transportation funding shortfall of almost $300 billion during the next 20 years and Collin County projects will require investment of almost $1 billion just to deal with expected congestion over the next five years.

While additional funds are needed to meet future transportation needs, Proposition 7 is an important step towards addressing the issue.   We encourage voters to support Proposition 7 on November 3.

 

–       CCBA Board of Directors

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