Below is a statement from Michael Behrens, executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, regarding a report released today from the State Auditor’s Office, “The Department of Transportation’s Reported Funding Gap and Tax Gap Information.”
“Today’s report is further documentation of a multi-billion dollar funding gap between the transportation system our state deserves and the one we can afford with current resources. No matter what number you choose, Texas has a big problem: more people, in more cars, driving more miles on an already congested highway system.
“The State Auditor’s Office has provided some good suggestions for refining the methodology to draw a clearer picture of the state’s mobility needs and we are incorporating their recommendations into our future assessments.
“While the funding gap is further refined, we are not sitting around. We can all agree on one thing: the funding gap, no matter what anyone thinks it might be, is growing. Using all the financial options available, we are working with our local partners around the state to tackle the congestion problem that threatens traffic safety, air quality, economic vitality and the quality of life for millions of people.”
For more information, read Mr. Behrens' official response [pdf, 3 pages, 167kb].
TxDOT, for the first time in its history, identified the funding gap between the state’s transportation needs and available funding. The purpose is to provide a general assessment of the statewide needs for additional mobility funding.
The numbers do not include maintenance costs. That would more than double the amount.
The effort to identify the funding gap began in 2004 and was a coordinated effort with transportation planners from around the state.
The state’s eight metropolitan planning organizations identified nearly $68 billion in unfunded needs in their rapidly growing areas. Urban and rural needs were identified by TxDOT at $18 billion, for a total statewide funding gap of $86 billion, which was reported in TxDOT’s 2006 strategic plan.
There are many variables involved in projecting 25 years in the future. Looking at past efforts by other organizations, national groups, and assessments made by other states, the Texas estimate compares appropriately to other studies.
TxDOT is working with transportation planners from across Texas on a reassessment that will show the latest funding needs for metropolitan, urban and rural areas and will soon release new figures.