Fleet Management

Texas Gets Short-Changed in Funding for Free Trade Highways, Officials Say

November 13, 2000

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Texas officials contend that they’re getting much less federal money than they should for maintaining roadways where free-trade-related truck traffic is blamed for burgeoning accident rates and severe crowding.

According to Associated Press reports, some officials criticize ineffective county and state officials for Texas’ unequal share of highway funding, while others blame political favoritism benefiting Arkansas, California and New York.
Three years ago, Congress acted to distribute federal highway dollars more fairly to states. But in the latest round of funding for the National Corridor Planning and Development and the Coordinated Border Infrastructure programs announced Nov. 3, Texas received just 6.5 percent of the funds announced by the Federal Highway Administration last week.
Almost half of the money was set aside for studies on proposed Interstate 69, which is to run from the U.S.-Canadian border to Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley.
Texas' 6.5 percent share of the money comes despite the fact that Texas bears 79 percent of the trade traffic from Mexico.
State legislators say they will consider dipping into Texas’ surplus, using money earmarked for toll roads, returning appropriated money to the state's highway funds and issuing bonds to pay for future roads, AP said.
“We will reinvent the way we fund highway projects,” Republican state Sen. Florence Shapiro told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It is unacceptable that I-35 between Dallas and Austin is the most dangerous interstate in the nation.”
Miffed state officials say since traffic from Mexico has increased, state highways have undergone a lot of wear and tear, especially along I-35 which runs from Laredo, along the Texas-Mexico border, through Dallas and Fort Worth and then up to Duluth, Minn.

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