TAG Supports Prioritization of Transportation System Funding
Today, TAG’s Executive Director, Andrea French, read the following statement to the Harris County Commissioner’s Court in support of prioritizing the use of the one-time $300M and annual $90M franchise fees for reinvestment into our transportation system
“I am speaking today in response to the recommendation that Harris County authorize the creation of a Local Government Corporation for continued operation and administration of the County’s toll road system and the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA). TAG was created with the core mission to improve Regional Mobility through advocacy for transportation infrastructure funding – it is our overarching guide for how we educate and communicate the importance and need for adequate transportation funding across the entire Houston region.
We understand the desire to move to this model, however we want to stress the importance of keeping the one-time $300M upfront franchise fee and the $90M annual franchise fee within the LGC for transportation.
It is significant that, for every $1 invested in transportation projects approximately $3-$6 in local economic activity is generated. Every $10 million in capital investment in public transportation yields $30 million in increased business sales. It does not matter if it’s roads, rails, buses or bikes – it all moves us forward and stimulates economic prosperity that translates into revenue – revenue we will need to invest in health, education, safety and more.
We find ourselves in the chaos of COVID now, but we will not always be and the decisions we make today need to be the foundation for our economic recovery – our mobility needs will come back, not to mention the increasing demands on our system due to the continued growth, and we want to be in a position to have taken advantage of this plateau. Transportation is the best investment vehicle to bring back the economy. It creates more jobs, increases economic development and is the backbone of our daily activities, health, employment and overall quality of life.
And the need is great – from road maintenance costs countywide and public transportation needs throughout the county, especially areas not served by METRO, to leveraging federal money coming into the region for all modes of mobility including the Gulf Coast Rail District – this is not the moment to divert funding, this is the time to invest more.
TAG and countless other organizations have worked hard to end diversions similar to this at the State level and we believe strongly that funds collected from transportation activities be limited to reinvestment in transportation projects only. For the general public, we believe this commitment also provides for better transparency and confidence in spending.
For all of these reasons, TAG urges the Court to prioritize the use of the one-time $300M and annual $90M franchise fees for reinvestment into our transportation system.”