Transportation

Introduction


Texas transportation programs, including those for highways, airports and some waterways, are primarily the responsibility of the Texas Departmen t of Transportation (TxDOT). The Legislature created this agency in 1991 by merging the State Department of Highways and Public Transportation, the Department of Aviation and the Motor Vehicle Commission. The Texas Turnpike Authority, which has responsibil ity for state toll roads, may be added in 1997.

In fiscal 1992, Texas state government spent $2.4 billion on transportation functions, about 8 percent of the total and the third-largest category after education and health and human services. About 90 perc ent of this spending and 80 percent of TxDOT s work force are assigned to the construction and maintenance of Texas 77,000-mile highway system. TxDOT is a major recipient of federal aid, which accounted for nearly 40 percent of its fiscal 1992-93 revenues.

Texas highway system is widely recognized as one of the world s finest. However, one of the Legislature s motivations in creating TxDOT was to place greater emphasis on modes of transportation other than highways. TPR s recommendations would further th is goal by proposing creation of a true multi-modal transportation planning process, with added input from the private sector, that would enhance the state s long-term economic development.

Other recommendations in this section would expedite urban highway construction to reduce road hazards, delays and lost productivity, and use revenue from federal court decisions and administrative rulings to help Texas school districts meet the cost of co nverting their school bus fleets to run on natural gas, as required by state and federal law.

Since many of TPR s transportation recommendations are aimed at long-range improvements in the state s infrastructure, their fiscal impact often cannot be estimated. Proposals that can be estimated would increase general revenue by nearly $5 million in fis cal 1994-95. Dedicated state accounts and funds would undergo a loss of more than $5 million. There would be no reduction in state employment.

Over the next five years (1994-1998), the transportation proposals would increase general revenue by $12.5 million, while reducing dedicated accounts and funds by $13 million.