|Randy Newman may love L.A, but we don't want that traffic. So it was scary to hear North Central Texas Council of Governments transportation wiz Dan Kessler predict L.A-length commutes if funding issues aren’t addressed statewide. The side effect of bad traffic, he says, is poor economic growth. (That and you learn all the words to Lady Gaga songs.)|
Dan made some dire predictions at the recent Northeast Tarrant County Transportation Summit in Grapevine. As the fourth largest US metropolitan area, the DFW population drives more than 158 million miles per day in the Metroplex alone. (How do we get by with only three sports talk radio stations?) More bad news: Dan says that figure will likely double by 2035, and if revenue stays the same, peak-period travel times in DFW would triple; demographic growth would be severely impacted and even some bridges and highway lanes would be closed.
|I-35 HOV lane in Dallas. Dan says Texas is facing a funding crisis. Construction costs increased 50% from ’02 and ‘07, and Texas is annually diverting $1B of state transportation revenues to non-transportation purposes. Just to prevent worsening congestion, costs are estimated at $487 billion investment with only $155 billion budgeted, meaning the state is looking at a $332 billion shortfall, he says. The gazillion-dollar question (give or take an zillion) is how to finance this equation: Needs (–) revenue = how big our challenge is.|
With the money we save not publishing a print edition, we bought aBisnow news chopper to show you the DFW Connector. “Money will not solve our entire problem,” Dan says. “The key thing is identifying a long-term sustainable source; a gas tax is not the answer. We’ve got to place greater emphasis on land use and transportation; we need a multi-modal system.” As the 12th largest economy in the world, and the economic engine in the state, the affect on our economic growth could be significant, he says.