What is the Issue?
The growth projected to continue at a rapid rate in Collin County during the coming decades will presents serious challenges to the local transportation system and addressing them will require concerted and ongoing action. Additional funds and a range of financing tools will be needed to maintain our existing roads and build new transportation infrastructure in order to keep up with the growing population and employment base in the county.
It is important to note that 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 and Forest Lane ranked (#100). TxDOT estimates the congestion on these roads creates almost 1 million hours of delays per mile and costs drivers $120 million each year.
As our county continues to grow, new infrastructure will be required to ensure that we can 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.
What is Being Done?
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has asked the State for an additional $4 billion in annual funding in order to maintain current congestion levels as the state’s population grows. TxDOT will then allocate those funds into solving the state’s two most pressing transportation problems: $1 billion to keep up with maintenance and $3 billion to counter the growing congestion.
In an effort to raise money for funding important transportation infrastructure development in Texas, the Texas Legislature in 2013 passed a proposed Constitutional amendment (Senate Joint Resolution 1) to increase transportation funding by $1.2 billion annually, after much protracted debate lasting several legislative sessions. The measure (Proposition 1) was approved by voters as a ballot measure in November 2014.
During the 2015 Legislative Session, measures are being considered that could add $3 billion, or more, each year for TxDOT projects. These bills would provide funds from sales taxes to supplement per-gallon gas tax revenues, the traditional source of funding that has been declining as fuel efficiency has increased.
The federal government is also continuing to debate short-term measures to reauthorize programs that allocate funding to states prior to a May 31, 2015, deadline along with longer- term funding options. Currently, federal funding provides approximately 40 percent of TxDOT’s budget. The Federal highway program faces two challenges: decreasing gax tax revenues, causing an estimated $16 billion annual shortfall; and lack of a multi-year funding measure – since the last bill expired in 2009, Congress has passed a series of short-term funding “patches” which make planning for future years more difficult.
Quality transportation infrastructure underpins the basic functioning of any community and its economy. The Collin County Business Alliance therefore believes that it is important to ensure that existing roads in Collin County are maintained; new roads are built at a high standard; and that efficiency and community needs are always considered high priorities.
In 2014, CCBA hosted a Transportation Summit which brought together leaders from across Collin County to discuss the top transportation issues facing our region. We also fully supported the passage of Proposition 1 in 2014 by encouraging members of the CCBA and the community to vote on the ballot measure.
Striving to ensure that the Federal, State and Local Governments provide adequate funding for transportation, the CCBA keeps a close eye on transportation funding bills considered by lawmakers. We are continuing to monitor state and federal activities and, when appropriate, will consider support for measures that address priority transportation goals for Collin County.
- Collin County Mobility Plan – http://www.co.collin.tx.us/mobility/Pages/mobility_plan.aspx
- Top 100 most congested roadways in Texas – http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/100-congested-roadways.html
- TxDOT Education Series – http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/office/state-affairs/educational-series.html
- Map of TxDOT Projects – http://www.txdot.gov/apps-cq/project_tracker/maps/default.htm?View=cnty&FN=Collin
- NTTA Roads and Projects – https://www.ntta.org/roadsprojects/Pages/default.aspx
- Regional Transportation Council (RTC) – http://www.nctcog.org/trans/committees/rtc/index.asp
- Metropolitan Transportation Plan for North Texas – http://www.nctcog.org/trans/mtp/2035/documents/StandardPresentation.pdf