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Transportation Funding Measures Win Approval Both Locally And Statewide

Voters across the state — including greater Houston — approved measures Tuesday that would provide new funding for road improvements. But as the state’s population continues to grow, just how far will that money go to alleviate congestion?


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Freeway traffic on I-45 in Houston
Traffic backs up on I-45 north of downtown Houston.

The big statewide transportation measure was Proposition 7, and it passed with more than 86% of the vote. The measure raises money for road projects by dedicating a portion of sales tax revenue, as well as diverting a percentage of the motor vehicle sales tax.

Legislative auditors say the measure should bring in about $3 billion a year for transportation. But is it enough?

Jack Ladd is with the advocacy group “Move Texas Forward.”

“If we’re going to truly address the problem, we’re going to have to raise taxes on these things,” says Ladd.

Ladd adds that the money generated by Proposition 7, along with last year’s Proposition 1, will only keep congestion at current levels.

He says the state needs billions more to actually fix the situation but getting that money could be a harder sell.

“I think we’re going to have to look ourselves in the mirror and say, are we willing to do this,” says Ladd. “And you know, now that gas prices are lower, now might be the time to do it.”

The promise of no new taxes was a big selling point for a couple of local bond issues that will pay for road improvements.

There was enthusiastic support in Harris County for an $850 million bond, with $700 million going to roads. In Montgomery County, voters approved a $280 million bond issue that would pay for over 50 projects.