Hiking Up Fees In Texas Could Help Congestion Problems, But Not Solve Them

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(Houston - Wendy Siegle, KUHF News) David Dewhurst, the lieutenant governor of Texas, told the Dallas Morning News that he’ll encourage lawmakers to seek out more money for highway construction.

He said he won’t support a tax increase, but would possibly favor raising fees, namely on vehicle registration. Alan Clark, the director of transportation planning at the Houston-Galveston Area Council, says if nothing is done, money for road projects could actually fall over the next ten years. “I’m very encouraged that the legislator is talking about it," says Clark, "and I think that there are many things they could do that would be a step in the right direction. Raising the vehicle registration fee could be one of those.”

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Clark says if everyone in the greater Houston area paid $20 more for vehicle registration, that would generate an additional $60 to $70 million a year. Clark says the extra money would help repair some of the roads and pay for some new projects in the region. But he says it wouldn’t solve all of Houston’s congestion problems.

He says moving people around the city doesn’t just come down to roads, but also public transit systems. “We understand that it’s going to take more than just building new highways to have effective transportation and good mobility,” he said.

Dewhurst hasn’t said how much the fee increase might be. But says he would want any change to go before voters, along with a list of projects the money would pay for.