Last November, nearly 80 percent of Texas voters approved a forward-looking measure to help our state maintain and upgrade its vast network of roads and highways as we continue to grow. Next Tuesday, I hope Texans again approach the ballot with our state’s future in mind and vote in favor of Proposition 7.
Texans understand the important role of quality infrastructure. Our state’s reputation as an economic powerhouse is fueled, in part, by the interconnectivity, trade and travel we enjoy as a result of our extensive roadway system. Investing in our roads means investing in our economic future, and that investment continues to pay off.
For example, the highways, interstates and farm-to-market roads move goods to consumers efficiently and safely and have helped make Texas the top exporting state in the country for the past 12 years. High-performing infrastructure is essential to transporting the massive amounts of trade traveling through Texas on the way to global markets every day.
This serious commitment to infrastructure investment is necessary as our state absorbs droves of new people and vehicles coming to Texas. According to census data, more people have moved to Texas in recent years than to any other part of the country. In fact, one out of four people moving from one state to another are choosing to make Texas their new home. The Office of the State Demographer estimates that, on average, more than 600 people move to Texas every day.
These statistics are a point of pride for Texans, and they speak volumes about our thriving economy and vibrant culture.
It’s clear that our state will need to do more to keep up with projected growth. By 2040, that influx of new Texans could mean an additional 18 million vehicles on our roadways. And some estimates project our population could double by 2050.
Increasing capacity in addition to maintaining our highway system will be crucial to meeting the rising demands that come with more people and vehicles hitting our roads. To continue our strong economic growth, we must find a responsible way to fund mounting roadway needs.
Fortunately, under the leadership of the State Legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott, Texans have another opportunity to advance a conservative proposal that would provide much-needed transportation resources and significantly add to the measure approved last November.
Early voting has already started for Proposition 7 — an amendment to the Texas Constitution that would direct a portion of certain existing sales and use taxes, including those imposed on motor vehicle sales, to the State Highway Fund. The amendment would be a hallmark of responsible governance and conservative principles — it doesn’t create new taxes or raise current ones, and it doesn’t force any additional fees upon Texans. Instead, Proposition 7 dedicates funds collected from existing sources to help pay for our roads in a smart and targeted way.
Approving Proposition 7 would help our state prepare for future transportation needs. It’s difficult, and at times impossible, to plan for improvements or major projects if there is no clear way to pay for it. That’s why I worked to advance a long-term highway transportation bill in the U.S. Senate so that states, including Texas, have the certainty and resources necessary to not only plan for, but to deliver, better transportation infrastructure. While I’ll continue to move this effort forward with my colleagues in the House of Representatives, our state has a chance to prioritize common-sense solutions that will go a long way toward meeting our future roadway needs.
Proposition 7 has the potential to deliver wide-ranging benefits across the state, from relieving urban and commuter congestion to upgrading critical rural routes to improving the overall safety and efficiency of our roadways.