Is raising taxes something politicians have the stomach for?
Traffic is a problem we all deal with in Houston. The question has always been how to reduce congestion. And the answer might be something politicians may not want to do because it might make voters angry.
The state currently spends three billion dollars a year on roads. But state senator Tommy Williams says it's not nearly enough.
“If we actually just wanted to hold congestion at the same level that is now statewide it would take about twice the amount of money that we spend every year roughly just to do that,” Williams told KTRH.
Williams says it would take 12 billion dollars a year to put a dent into the congestion problem. One possible answer is raising the gas tax. Most of you might not want to hear that, but analyst Bill Miller says you might forgive and forget.
“I know taxes is a bad word but congestion and gridlock are worse words in my opinion,” Miller said.
Williams isn’t sure that raising taxes is the right answer.
“Increasing the gas tax may not be the solution to this problem. But we are in need of new funding and the gas tax hasn’t been raised in over twenty years,” Williams explained.
Williams says there are other solutions, though.
“Some of the money in the state Highway Fund is being used to help fund the Department of Public Safety. It’s my hope that in this session we’ll be able to reduce some of that.
Another possible answer is raising vehicle registration fees.
Williams said, “If we increased the fees, even if we doubled them, we’d only be 31st in the country in terms of our fees. We’d be in the middle of the pack.”
Williams says that right now, Texas’ registration fees some of the cheapest in the country.
The bottom line is that without more money for the roads, your drive to work is going to continue to be rough.