From roads to rail: TxDOT head opens door to raiding road funds for rail
By Terri Hall
May 29, 2014
In what appears to be a contradiction with Texas House Speaker Joe Straus’ announcement that his next budget will end all un-constitutional gas tax diversions to ensure taxes collected for roads indeed go to roads, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Executive Director Joe Weber recently signaled the need to depart from highway-only funding to use road taxes for rail.
Weber told the Dallas Morning News that “it’s going to take more than new roads to keep Texans traveling smoothly if population growth estimates prove true.”
He also said TxDOT needs to increase funding for rail projects despite an environment where road dollars are already scarce. With the Department’s shift to tolling, some of this money it plans to divert to rail will include toll revenues. Texans won’t take kindly to paying tolls to fund rail that they can’t or won’t use.