State business leaders today called on the Texas Legislature to pass House Bill 1 and House Joint Resolution 1, which would create a long-term funding source to help meet the transportation needs of our fast growing state.  

Groups calling for increased transportation funding through a dedicated revenue source include the Texas Association of Business, Texas Association of Manufacturers, Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Transportation Advocates of Texas and San Antonio Mobility Coalition.

“Texas will only remain the economic envy of the nation if we take strong action now to ensure our transportation system can meet the demands of our businesses and families across the state,” said Bill Hammond, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business.  “Every minute spent stuck in traffic is lost revenue for business, lost time with family and friends, and lost opportunity for the economic growth necessary to create jobs and prosperity for Texans.”

Added Tony Bennett, president of the Texas Association of Manufacturers:  “By authorizing another $1 billion a year for transportation projects without new taxes or fees, Texas lawmakers will be encouraging jobs and roadway safety.  Texas needs more transportation, water and power to remain a leader in job creation and economic opportunity.  This transportation legislation is a vote for Texas jobs and public safety, and we are confident it will pass and gain voter approval.”

Richard Perez, president and CEO of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce said:  “If Texas expects to continue to lead the nation in jobs and opportunity, we must improve state transportation funding to improve and expand Texas roads.  Census data showed San Antonio’s metro area population growing nearly 100,000 from 2010-2012, and we continue to grow rapidly as word gets out about our region’s outstanding jobs climate and quality of life.”

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), Texas faces a funding “cliff” in 2016 without increased resources to meet the transportation needs of the state, both urban and rural.  Also according to TXDOT, failure to increase resources now would mean production levels for constructing roads and highways could fall to levels so low, they have not been seen in two decades.

“It’s time to pass the transportation bill, end the special session and approve a significant new investment in road safety and construction,” said Michael W. Rollins, president and CEO of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.  “Texas is home to four of the top 10 cities for business, but we need more transportation investment to continue to attract the great jobs and new investment in our state.”

Additionally, existing roads and highways will continue to degrade without the resources to adequately maintain transportation infrastructure. TXDOT recently announced several miles of roadway in the Eagle Ford Shale region will be converted from paved to gravel as a result of high use and insufficient funding for maintenance.

Gov. Rick Perry has made transportation infrastructure funding a priority to preserve the state’s economic growth and has called the Legislature in to a third special session to ensure they complete this work that is critical to our state’s future.

For more information about the Texas Association of Business, click here.

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