Making Democracy Work

Transportation

historic photo of congress avenue

Updates by Britin Bostick (Austin) Transportation Issue Chair

Coalitions and Resources

Resources DATA

As of 2013, TxDOT maintains 80,268 centerline miles (miles traveled in a one-way direction regardless of the number of lanes in a roadway).

State-maintained centerline miles:

Interstate highways3,272
Interstate highways12,062
State highways, Spurs, Loops, Business Rtes16,411
Farm or Ranch to Market roads and Spurs40,932
Pass, Park and Recreation Roads345
Frontage roads7,245

The total number of lane miles (miles per lane of roadway) in Texas is 195,022.

TxDOT maintains 615 picnic areas (areas that include picnic tables), and 92 rest areas including Travel Information Centers (areas that include restroom facilities and picnic tables).

While only 25.6 percent of roadways in Texas are state-maintained, 73.8 percent of all VMT occurs on state-maintained highways.

Average Annual VMT

VMT on state-maintained highways175.3B
VMT all state roadways237.3B

Average Daily VMT

VMT on state-maintained highways480M
VMT all state roadways649.8M

(retrieved from Texas Department of Transportation)

Acronyms: What Does That Mean?

  • TxDOT Texas Department of Transportation
  • VMT Vehicle Miles Traveled

Position LWV-TX

TRANSPORTATION - 2006

The League of Women Voters of Texas support a transportation system to move people and goods that includes a variety of transportation modes, with emphasis on increased transportation services and other viable alternatives; that is efficient, convenient, and cost effective; that services all segments of the population and diverse geographic needs; that minimizes the harmful effects on the environment, is integrated with land use, and is supported by extensive public education.

Planning for transportation projects should be accomplished by:

  • cooperation and coordination among agencies and different levels of government

  • timely, informed citizen input in the planning process

  • selection of projects based on needs assessment

  • analyses of alternate routes and modes

  • analysis of environmental impact

  • measures to provide public transportation to groups who do not have or cannot drive a private auto (elderly, disabled, youth, low-income)

  • policies encouraging the integration of various modes of transportation to promote seamless systems.

Transportation and land use planning should include the following strategies in order to influence travel behavior:

  • parking fees

  • taxes

  • tolls

  • alternatives to single occupancy vehicle travel (HOV lanes, cars/van pools, bicycle lanes, etc.)

  • flexible lanes for high traffic times

  • land use policies to encourage mixed use development coordinated with public transportation.

Construction, maintenance and/or expansion projects should be funded through:

  • Tolls on new highways

  • regional rail authorities with taxing ability

  • federal funding

  • usage taxes for commercial vehicles

  • local user taxes

  • state gas and user taxes

  • bonds

  • private sources (developers, etc.)

To alleviate congestion on Texas highways, existing routes should be expanded to include added passenger rail service and expanded freight rail lines. New routes should connect major Texas centers of population, preferably by rail.

Issue Studies and Explanation

This study was adopted at Convention 2003 as a three-year study, after being recommended by seven Leagues, several of which had local transportation positions. The focus was on current public transportation systems, future needs and funding availability. Additionally members focused on the impact of public transportation on air quality and land use, and the need for regional public transportation networks. Consensus was completed and adopted by the Board in January, 2006.

Focus: The impact of public transportation on air quality, land use, and social indicators. The need for regional public transportation networks.

Scope:

Study Committee:Edith Jones (Tarrant Co.) Chair, Nan Clayton (Austin), Betty Hill, Brazos Valley), Phyllis Ingram (San Antonio Area), Kathleen Matsumura (Dallas), Pat Schneider (Midland), Genie Mitchell (Irving), Martha Murphree (Houston)

Additional Offsite Links:

History of LWV-TX Action

2006: The League opposed the proposed route for the Trans-Texas Corridor because local and regional planning groups had concerns about economic and environmental effects which were not addressed, their recommendations were not included in the route selection, and major population centers were not connected in a seamless manner.

2007: The LWV-TX opposed HB1892 (Smith) a moratorium bill on Trans-Texas Corridor (includes many other toll roads). Highways 1604 and 281 were not included in this moratorium. Some north Texas roads which had been approved were not in the moratorium. The bill passed by the legislature was vetoed by the governor.

2013: During the last legislative session, transportation bills were followed but few were passed. The major legislation involved a proposed constitutional amendment to allow funds from the Rainy Day Fund to be utilized for infrastructure repair and expansion. The amendment legislation passed but did not appear on the same ballot as the water amendment in November 2013. The Texas Department of Transportation was challenged to utilize funds in as efficient way as possible, which resulted in gravel on some rural roads instead of paving. Effects on roads from oil/gas drilling trucks were a concern. There has been much uproar since then and projects have been redirected. Both House and Senate committees were concerned with congestion + e.g., on I35 W and I35 E + but with limited funds could come up with no funding solution.

Transportation will be a high priority in the coming legislature. High speed rail from Houston to the D/FW metroplex, plus the Mexico to Oklahoma City corridor rail, are being addressed by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Interim charges include: passenger and freight rail are to be evaluated through a review of the Rail Division of TxDOT, and the port system will be evaluated through a review of the Maritime Division of TxDOT. There was a constitutional amendment on funding that will be on the ballot in November 2014 for use for road infrastructure and improvement. Our current positions enable us to address the proposed legislation in a favorable fashion.