By Sarah Huether
Todd Staples, Texas commissioner of agricultures, Andrea French, executive director of Transportation Advocacy Group (TAG)-Houston Region, Michael Parks, the assistant executive director of the Brazos Valley Council of Governments, and Brad McCaleb, the executive director of the Bryan/College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization joined together to speak at a forum encouraging the passing of Proposition 1.
The Texas Transportation Funding Amendment, Proposition 1 is designed to obtain the money put in the Rainy Day Fund, and redirect into transportation. It proposes raising the gas tax as well as vehicle registration to increase funding by nearly $1.4 billion according to the American Society of Civil Engineers in Texas.
“It’s about jobs at the end of the day,” says Staples. With a projected population of Texas hitting 90 million by 2050, “congestion and safety challenges are only going to get worse,” says Staples. Since the 1970’s, Texas’ population has doubled while the amount of vehicles has tripled, with highway usage up by 200 percent. “The political will is there to address the problem,” says Staples but added that it “needs to be solidified” and challenges the public “to carry that message forward.”
French stresses the “ability to transport goods and people efficiently throughout the greater Houston region,” to be of the utmost importance. “Quality of life” regarding to “how much time is being lost” in a transportation system is just not adequate, says French. According to French, “orange cones” on the highway do not mean that the highways are fine. “We advocate, we educate,” says French as she recognizes the complexities of transportation of funding and explaining those to the public.
“Pretty simple, Prop 1 will give us more money than we have now,” says Parks. Parks offers a more local perspective, noting that by 2050, 70 percent of Texas will live in the Texas Triangle, which Bryan/College Station is in the center of. “Houston is coming,” he says as most of College Station’s growth is heading south.
If Prop 1 is passed, McCaleb says between 2015 and 2019, there will be $19 million to create additional projects.
The vote will take place November 4. For more information, visit movetexasforward.com.