December 18, 2008
TxDOT says: We need money!

Huge, gaping bags of it, apparently.

An estimated $313 billion will be needed to meet Texas' transportation needs through 2030, a special panel appointed by Transportation Commission Chairwoman Deirdre Delisi said today.

The figure takes into account the investment required to maintain pavement and bridges, to keep congestion from getting worse in urban areas and to provide for mobility and safety in rural areas, said Michael Walton, who holds the Ernest H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

Walton heads the 12-member committee named by Delisi to come up with the estimate of transportation needs. Among other members are H-E-B executive Ken Allen of San Antonio and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

The panel's study did not include revenue sources for meeting the needs.


A past transportation cost estimate by TxDOT that showed an $86 billion funding gap in highway construction was questioned by the State Auditor's Office, putting a shadow on its claims of accuracy and fueling legislative concerns about the information coming from the agency.

Delisi said the current 2030 Committee had a broader scope and, importantly, was composed of outside business and civic leaders.

"TxDOT didn't produce this number," she said. "This was done by an esteemed panel of experts. That's the most important thing to remember."

Well, you have to admire their gumption in releasing this so soon after their Sunset review, I'll say that much for them. Look, this study may be completely gold-plated, but it still bears TxDOT's imprimatur, and it's very much in TxDOT's interest to tout a need for all kinds of transportation-related money. It would be bizarre if the report they commissioned concluded anything else. I'm sure they had top men on this - I do respect Ed Emmett, for example - but until I see an analysis by someone with no stake in the outcome, this sounds like a big ol' wish list to me.

Info about the 2030 Committee is here, and the draft report can be seen here. Anyone out there attend one of their public meetings?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 18, 2008 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Of course two years ago TxDOT said they needed 86 million which TTI in that report for the Governor's Business Council cut 30 mil off the top and said, well actually you guys probabbly need abour 56 billion.

But how the heck did TxDOT manage to get from 86 to 300+ billion...

Posted by: Trafficnerd on December 18, 2008 9:36 AM

Highway demand will not increase at the projected rate if the economic conditions mute passenger and freight service.

Posted by: Charles Hixon on December 18, 2008 12:30 PM

Message to the Legislature about TXDoT and the corrupt numbers they kick out:


Posted by: Dano on December 18, 2008 12:36 PM
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