Texas’ highway system requires greater funding

April 4, 2019

As someone who travels Interstate 35 regularly, I applaud Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s leadership testifying before Congress in support of infrastructure investment. The Ways and Means Committee finally had a full hearing on transportation funding after eight years of inaction.

After two years of talk about a “big-ly” plan, the Trump budget inexplicably slashes by one-third the total proposed resources, cuts 20 percent from the Department of Transportation, and increases the burden on states and localities, impairing local transportation solutions, such as the Connect SA initiative.

An additional $160 billion nationwide is required just to maintain our third-rate transportation system, which has earned Texas a C-rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers. After more than two years, Trump’s latest proposal is little more than a page, offering little detail or leadership. He only recommends $200 billion in direct federal investment for all forms of infrastructure, including airports, water, energy and more, while cutting programs that work and leaving the tooth fairy to come up with the rest.

We have bipartisan agreement on the need but not on a willingness to pay for meeting that need. Freeways are not free. Without strong bipartisan support for a dependable, long-term revenue source, nothing meaningful will be done to ease congestion.

If only Trump would devote a fraction of the energy he has voiced for a wall — which he mistakenly claimed was located in San Antonio — to building what we really need, Bexar County residents would get some relief.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett represents San Antonio.