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Legislature can't simply ignore voters' wishes for more highway funding

Texas voters overwhelming approved the allocation of a small portion of sales tax revenue for roads (Proposition 7) in the 2015 election. The 83 percent of voters supported the measure, sending a clear message to invest more of our resources in roads and bridges to make highways safer and to address ever-growing traffic congestion.

Now, Texas legislators are considering a measure to pull back more than $2 billion of this incremental highway funding even before this new money begins to flow. Doing so would completely disregard the voters.

It's time to remind our elected officials in the Texas Capitol to keep the promise.

Gov. Greg Abbott had a clever TV campaign spot when he parked his wheelchair alongside typical traffic gridlock with a wry observation that he could move faster than the vehicles alongside him on the highway. He has made congestion relief a priority. The Transportation Commission recently allocated $2.5 billion for the Texas Clear Lanes Initiative to do just that, including $808 million for the Dallas and Fort Worth area. Relief projects across the state are in the pipeline, but their construction will be delayed if Texas legislators reduce the dedicated road money that voters previously approved.

Texas Clear Lanes projects for North Texas involve $438 million to reconstruct portions of Interstate 635 in Dallas and $370 million to reconstruct I-635 in Fort Worth and FM 2499 interchanges on State Highway 121. These projects could be delayed if lawmakers cut Prop 7 funding.

We can't afford to wait. The Texas population is growing by more than 1,000 people each day. More people means more traffic. Urban congestion will get even worse, and rural highways will be even harder to maintain with less money.

These discussions to cut billions in highway funding need to stop. Texas voters overwhelmingly are counting on them. The Legislature needs to keep its promise to improve mobility and safety for Texas drivers.

Please take a few minutes to ask your representatives to keep the promise.

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#finance #Texas #senate #transportation #legislative #funding #TxDOT

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