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Statewide, Federal Funding Shortfalls
Contributing Factors, Implications, Innovations

Progress North Texas 2011

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Recent Success, Remaining
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Mobility 2035 >>>

Statewide, Federal Funding Shortfalls

Air Quality Improving, More Work Needed >>>

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Preserving Quality of Life for North Texas >>>

Regional Collaboration Yields Local, Regional Benefits >>>

Economic Recovery Funds Building Transportation
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Funding for transportation remains a significant challenge in the Dallas-Fort Worth region as well as across the state and nation.

In Texas, transportation is funded through a combination of federal and state taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, statewide registration fees and local initiatives such as bond elections, sales tax, concession payments and tolls.

Graphic: Future Transportation Costs

Federal and state
motor-fuels taxes, which are assessed on a
per-gallon basis, have not been raised since the early 1990s.

Since then, construction costs have risen dramatically, meaning the purchasing power of the tax dollars has not kept pace with inflation. In essence, the region isn’t able to build as many projects with the same level of taxation.

During the same time period, vehicles have become more fuel efficient, meaning motorists can travel farther while buying less fuel and ultimately paying less in fuel taxes.

The Dallas-Fort Worth region has been able to continue building transportation projects despite these funding challenges by using innovative finance such as toll roads and managed lanes, and utilizing public-private partnerships to leverage scarce resources.

The funding shortfall has resulted in the new long-range transportation plan, Mobility 2035, estimating nearly $45 billion less funding being available than what was projected under the previous plan. Mobility 2035 defers more transportation projects and could lead to higher congestion throughout the region as the population and, therefore, demand for the transportation system, continue to increase.

 

The $3.2 billion the North Texas Tollway Authority paid the region in 2007 for the right to build and operate State Highway 121 is paying dividends.

In fiscal year 2010, $1.1 billion in funding was awarded to capacity improvements and air quality, maintenance and rail transit projects across the region. NCTCOG maintains an online record where the funds have been distributed and available balances. For information, visit www.nctcog.org/trans/rtr.

The Regional Transportation Council worked with the Texas Legislature on several proposals to provide additional funding and flexibility to the region.

These proposals included:

 

Graphic: Regional Toll Revenue

Graphic: Fiscal Year 2010 RTR Funding

  • Identify additional transportation revenue.
  • Reestablish limited authority for TxDOT to enter into public-private partnerships on specific projects.
  • Strengthen protection for all surplus toll revenue and concession payments.
  • Increase flexibility for implementation of Proposition 12 transportation bonds.

Graphic: Lane Miles Added Over Last Five Years
This chart shows an estimated breakdown of lane miles added over the past five years. The region’s toll road network expanded by 250 miles, while 84 miles of managed/HOV lanes and 36 miles of fuel-tax funded lanes opened.

Graphic: Lane Miles Per Driver

Funding transportation requires the commitment of everyone. This chart provides a snapshot of each motorist’s contribution to the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s roadway system after funds have been diverted to other obligations. Contribution is based on the assumption of 15,000 miles.

 

To Keep America Moving, Invest in a Multimodal Solution

Matt Rose, chairman and CEO, BNSF Railway Co.



Photo: Matt Rose

 

The US has long enjoyed a competitive advantage with supply chain costs making up a smaller percent of GDP than Europe or China because we have the
 

most extensive transportation infrastructure in the world. That created more headroom for American workers to earn higher wages and remain competitive.

But our country has grown to more than 300 million people, and we have filled up that infrastructure with automobiles, trucks and trains.

Our competitors are working to lap the US supply chain advantage with their own infrastructure spending. That’s why it’s so important for US public policy to support regaining our supply chain advantage. It’s at the very top of the list of things like labor and utility costs that give our products the ability to compete.

We need a balanced and thoughtful approach to freight policies that support more private freight rail investment and robust public road funding to improve the competitiveness of our global supply chain. And we’re well on the way in North Texas.

As a rail, highway and air transportation center, the Dallas-Fort Worth region has leveraged those assets for economic advantage.


Tower 55 is a great example of a project that will benefit interstate commerce through the region and improve quality of life. We need to continue to work collaboratively for other opportunities like Tower 55.

Dallas-Fort Worth offers tremendous competitive value to businesses with its transportation infrastructure, cost of living and business-friendly environment, and it is working to address its transportation challenges. The whole US surface transportation system needs to do the same thing.

Our nation needs to put more emphasis on developing a multimodal transportation plan that harnesses the natural efficiencies of every mode of transportation. We can do a lot more to reduce congestion by developing a national policy that channels more public and private investment to freight rail and to the road infrastructure that can improve traffic flows to and from rail.

What's Next:
Passenger Rail Service Along the Cotton Belt Corridor


The regional and state funding shortfalls require transportation planners and policymakers to think creatively when pursuing the construction of infrastructure. This is not limited to roadways.

North Texas transportation leaders are developing a strategy that could deliver passenger rail service to the 62-mile Cotton Belt corridor in a matter of years. The Innovative Finance Initiative started with a mix of 125 potential revenue sources. Planners have narrowed the list and continue to refine the plan.

The Cotton Belt would link more than a dozen cities between southwest Fort Worth and the Plano/Richardson area.

The final funding plan is expected to include a mix of public and private sources and could serve as a model for other rail and roadway projects in the region and across the nation. Instead of leaning primarily on traditional tax revenue, the initiative seeks to take advantage of the economic potential of the land along the corridor.

The line could help cities in the region develop denser, more sustainable projects that allow better transit and pedestrian access.


The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors who are responsible for the opinions, findings, and conclusions presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration or the Texas Department of Transportation. This document was prepared in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Trasnportation, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration.

10/31/2016 03/17/2009 JS

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