SAN ANTONIO – Gov. Rick Perry touted the important strides Texas has made in bolstering transportation infrastructure in the state since 2001. The governor spoke at the Ninth Annual Texas Transportation Forum, where the Texas Transportation Commission announced the creation of the Governor Rick Perry Leadership in Transportation Award. Beginning next year, the award will be presented annually to recognize leaders who have shown a commitment to advancing transportation infrastructure in Texas.
Under Gov. Perry’s leadership, the Texas highway system has grown by more than 6,600 new miles from 2001 – 2012, more than any other state over that time, and invested more than $59 billion in transportation projects. This includes crucial projects across the state, from I-35 in Central Texas to I-10 in Houston, I-69 in the Rio Grande Valley and the Dallas-Fort Worth Connector. Texas has also implemented effective methods to fund new roads and highways, giving more control to local authorities who can best address their region’s needs and expanding public-private partnerships, all without raising taxes.
“Transportation fuels the economy that’s making it possible for families to build lives, but transportation is also essential to help families enjoy the lives they’ve built,” Gov. Perry said. “That’s a simple fact of life that we need to keep in mind moving forward. That’s why we’ve taken so many steps over the past decade to improve our roads, while remaining true to the essential Texas value of fiscal responsibility.”
To further advance transportation projects in the state, Gov. Perry called on lawmakers in the 83rd Legislative Session to pass House Bill 1, which pending voter approval this fall, will allow the state to direct surplus severance tax revenue to critical infrastructure projects. Without raising taxes, this investment will secure funding for crucial transportation improvements across the state for years to come.
Investments in roads and infrastructure directly impact Texas’ economic competitiveness and companies’ ability to do business in the state. Texas has remained the top exporter in the U.S. for 11 years in a row, and Texas’ transportation system continues to receive national attention, ranking the number one state for infrastructure and transportation for three years in a row by CNBC. Safety on Texas roads has also increased with initiatives like the Safety Bond Program, which Gov. Perry supported in 2003, and Click it or Ticket helping raise awareness and save lives across the state.