Urban Issues in Texas, How Should We Fund Our Transportation Needs in Texas
UrbanIssues in Texas, How Should We Fund Our Transportation Needs in Texas
Manystrategies can be applied to generate adequate funds to supportdevelopment of effective transportation systems. For instance, thecountry may consider increasing sales tax and revenues on businesses.Increasing taxes would mean that the government would collectadditional funds to cover the deficits in the national budget. Theprocess would offer revenues over a short period to avoid delays inthe development process. It is notable that a small raise of salestax would result to generation of a lot of funds. For instance,increase in only one percent can generate up to $1 billion US dollars(Baker 121).
Highertaxes would mean that people who are wealthier would support thegovernment meet it goals of influencing the development of bettertransportation systems. Such as a move would mean that, those who arewell up to facilitate the development of transport infrastructurewould support the poor people. Those who earn excess money would berequired to pay higher amounts to influence the realization ofessential services without any significant impact on their dailylife. The process is beneficial because it does not add or introduceany budget to the poor and middle-income wage earners (Baker 125). Inaddition, increasing sales volumes would facilitate balancing thepayment of account since it would reduce the need for borrowing fromthe international communities.
Raisingtaxes offers a suitable alternative other than reducing funding ofessential services such as healthcare and education. Developingstrategies to build the economy would facilitate creation ofadditional revenue to support all the development needs. Forinstance, creating favorable environment for businesses to start andflourish is an excellent idea for influencing increase of funds tosupport national building.
Efficienttransportation supported by quality road networks facilitateseffective economic growth and achievement of various developmenttargets. It is beneficial to consider improving road network tofacilitate economical movement of goods and services from themanufacturers to the customers (Baker 123). Quality road networkslower the cost of doing business and encourage investors in thecountry. Texas can realize better economic growth through funding ofthe transportation sector, which includes rail, air and water.
Fundingthe transportation sector would offer solutions to the manychallenges affecting the sector. Some of those solutions may includecongestion reduction, job creation, improved safety, improvedeconomic opportunities, and improved business operations. Texas isone of the regions, which are growing at an alarming rate followingeffective development strategies. In August 2013, the Texas House ofRepresentatives presented a Senate Joint Resolution 1 and House Bill1. Each of the two bills was passed supermajority and bipartisanvotes. They provided a source of funding and encouraged researchinitiative to address the transportation needs. The growing economyincreases the demand for effective transportation systems thecountry. However, there have not been enough resources to support theincreasing demand for improved transportation services. The problemhas resulted to management crisis and encouraged reduced economicdevelopment. Budget constraints have made it difficult for the stateto allocate sufficient funds to support the expensive constructioncost.
Thegovernment targets to apply the surplus revenue from the natural gasand oil production taxes to support development of infrastructure.Although most of these funds are usually deposited into other areassuch as the Economic Stabilization Fund, there are plans to allocatepart of the funds to the State Highway Fund. Unfortunately, thesefunds are not sufficient to support the required developmentrequirement. It is only adequate for the maintaining, constructionand gaining rights-of-way particularly for non-toll public roadways.In the year 2014, the first transfer is expected to be about $1billion.
Thecompanion bill focuses at supplying adequate funds to supporteconomic stability in case it runs below a certain level. Such aneffort aims at elimination of high constraints on the budget that canaffect availability of essential government services to the public.The companion bill has encouraged development of joint SelectCommittees on expenditure, finance and transportation funding tofacilitate understanding of the sources of funds, needs,alternatives, and opportunities for efficiencies. Texas A&MTransportation Institute explained that the state requires not lessthan $370 billion in the next decade to support the development oftransportation infrastructure over the next two decades. The fundswill also be applied to enhance safety and rural mobility, andfacilitate decongestion of the urban areas.
Throughthe development of the two bills, the state has indicated itscommitment towards improvement of the transport system in thecountry. The process will ensure realization of sustainable transportinfrastructure funding to ensure a better future for the country. Thedevelopment of the bills the state has indicated its strongcommitment and responsibility to cope with the phenomenal growth. Itis beneficial for the state to give priority to the future spendingon transportation and ensure effective development that can offereconomical advantages to the future generations.
Creatingsufficient funds to support development strategies can be enhancedthrough improving the economy. A fast growing economy means that thestate will generate more funds to cater for the increasing demand.The country may consider taking several measures to eliminatedeficits in the balance of payment. Such measures may includeincreasing exports through provision of alternative incentives,lowering imports through establishment of industries and increasinginvisible earnings.
Othermeasures may include restoration and revival of sick industries,Quality and Packaging of International Standard, and search of neweconomic opportunities and markets. The development of effectiveeconomic policies aims at ensuring that the balance of the accountdoes not realize discrepancies. Such policies target specificobjectives such as attracting foreign investment and encouragingimproved local productivity. For instance, a country may decide tolower the cost of starting and operating businesses in order toattract business investors (Baker 121).
Seekingfor better economic opportunities and new markets would mean that thegovernment must promote and participate in various trade fairsparticularly those that are arranged by the foreign countries. Itmust market locally produced commodities in the trade fairs to theforeign countries. It is also crucial to develop trade fairs withother countries to enhance businesses. Arranging trade exhibitionsand seminars where foreign delegates are invited markets the countryin various ways.
Avehiclemiles traveled (VMT) tax is a system of collecting funds frommotorists based on the distance they cover on the road. Since Texashas many vehicles, the system is likely to fetch a lot of resources.Such a system has been proposed in various states in the unitedstates to supplement or replace the fuel tax. For many years, fueltax has failed to generate adequate resources because of developmentmany fuel-efficient vehicles. In the united states, the system hasbeen applied, but only to about 5,000 volunteers around Oregon andtruck drivers in Illinois. Other countries, which have introduced thesystem on tracks, include Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, andGermany. In addition, New Zealand adopted the system to collectrevenue from diesel-powered cars and heavy vehicles (Baker 125).
Although,a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax has the potential to generateadditional resources to support development of transportation, it canencourage realization of various problems in Texas. For instance, thesystem can compromise motorist’s privacy because locationinformation can be used to determine covered distance. In addition,growth in technology has resulted to reduced consumption of fuel thusmaking it difficult to collect sufficient amount of revenue.
Texascan also consider raising fees on vehicle registration to close thefunds deficit. People who are acquiring new or old vehicle would berequired to pay a higher fee to increase availability of resources.However, registration fee changed on vehicles would vary depending onthe class of vehicles. Expensive and luxurious vehicles would berequired to pay higher charges than the cheap vehicles. The move willincrease costs of buying and maintaining vehicles thus having anadverse effect on the economy. This is because companies that importvehicles will decrease the volume of imports due to low demand in thelocal market. Increasing taxes on imported vehicles is another movethat Texas can adopt to increase government revenue. Such revenue canbe used to improve roads in a bid to connect different regions (Baker128).
Thegovernment of Texas is also looking forward to tax vehicles per-mile.The process is expected to start in 2015 with motorists being askedto volunteer to pay about 1.5 cents per mile as compared to the usual30 cents per gallon gas tax. The traditional federal tax on gas hasremained to be 18.5 cents per gallon for more than 20 years. If thistax can be raised, it would be a faster, equitable and cost-effectiveway of increasing government revenue. However, there is a majorhindrance in the per-mile tax adoption since it requires tracking ofvehicles with GPS devices. This move has been seen to interfere withpeople’s private life. However, it is the responsibility of thegovernment to adopt any of the solutions to increase revenues toenable it maintains highways. The taxes can also used to maintainscrambling bridges (Baker 121).
Inconclusion, Texas has an opportunity to utilize various strategies tocreate adequate funds to influence development of improved transportsystem. However, it is beneficial for the government to consider thepros and cons of every strategy to compromising other economicdevelopment plans. In my opinion, I believe increasing sales tax andrevenues on businesses is the most appropriate strategy to gainresources to cope with the increasing need of improved transportservices. The process would offer the best power to the governmentand makes possible to funds essential transport needs. Sales tax candiscourage spending and thus promote investing and saving. It hindersincurring debts and spending money to make savings for the essentialdevelopment plans. Tax code is extremely simple to understand andestimate the expected tax. Raising sales tax particularly targets therich and offers an advantage to the poor people in the society.Application of the sales tax and revenues on businesses would make itpossible for Texas to gain considerable amount of resources tosupport the transportation requirements.
Barker,William G. "Can a sustainable transportation system be developedfor San Antonio, Texas?." TransportationResearch Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board1924.1 (2005): 120-128.