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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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Proposition would divert funds to road projects

Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION
Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples speaks in College Station on Tuesday regarding Proposition 1 and transportation funding.
Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples speaks in College Station on Tuesday regarding Proposition 1 and transportation funding.

Proposition 1, which would divert money from annual oil and gas production tax collections that would go in the Rainy Day Fund and allocate it to the State Highway Fund, will be on the ballot for the Nov. 4 state elections.
“Proposition 1, I think, is step one in moving Texas forward to addressing our unmet transportation needs,” said Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples on Tuesday at the Hilton during a Chamber of Commerce meeting. “Proposition 1 will take existing revenue and dedicate it to Fund Six, which is the transportation fund in the state budget process. No new taxes, no debt and no tolls. That’s a heck of a deal, folks.”
The proposition will move $1.7 billion from the Rainy Day Fund in the first year alone to improve conditions on major highways and farm-to-market roads.
“Proposition 1 is not a tax increase, it’s just moving some money from one account to another,” said David Ellis, research scientist at Texas A&M Transportation Institute. “It is very important in the sense that it provides additional funding for transportation funding. It helps address some of the needs in Texas that exist.”
The Texas road system today is in trouble for multiple reasons, one being the rapid population growth, Staples said. He said there were 25 million Texans in 2010 and that number is expected to exceed 40 million by 2050.
Ellis said transportation problems are, in part, due to the success the state has seen economically.
“Texas is a victim of its own success in a way because relatively speaking we have a good economy here, which draws in people and they bring their car and that creates more congestion,” Ellis said.
The issue of transportation is not often brought up because it doesn’t poll well, Staples said.
“Polls, a lot of times, represent what’s on the public’s mind,” Staples said. “I saw some results of a poll that was done about a week ago. It was an open-ended question that [asked] what are the biggest challenges Texans face today. Well, the border insecurity and all the troubles going on there are ranked the highest. Job security and job availability rank right there as well, but guess what didn’t even show up in the list of about 20 responses — transportation.”
For this reason, Staples said he encourages everyone to educate others on Proposition 1 and the importance of transportation funding.
“Since the 1970s, highway usage in Texas has increased over 200 percent, while capacity in our system has only increased 19 percent,” Staples said. “This is why this issue is so important and this is why I’m here today, to challenge you to carry that message forward. You have the opportunity to make certain that you’re dedicating those dollars to where they can have the biggest impact and that it for better roads for your family to drive on.”

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