State of Texas: Bumpy Roads Ahead

Joanna Wojtkowiak
Dave Mann


If there’s one thing Texas has long done well, it’s road building. But perhaps no more. Texas’ population is exploding, and the state’s road builders can’t keep up. During the 2013 legislative session, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials said they need $4 billion a year in additional funding just to keep up with demand. The Lege provided just $200 million in new money, and proposed an additional $1.2 billion annually in a special session, but voters will have to approve that increase in 2014. Even with that extra money, TxDOT would still face a $2.6 billion road maintenance shortfall. Over the summer, TxDOT announced plans to convert 83 miles of South Texas roads from pavement to gravel. In October lawmakers found extra money to keep some of those roads paved, but others may still be turned to gravel. Either way, the state’s transportation infrastructure will remain strained and underfunded.

Source: Texas Department of Transportation. Illustration by Joanna Wojtkowiak.

Do you think free access to journalism like this is important? The Texas Observer is known for its fiercely independent, uncompromising work—which we are pleased to provide to the public at no charge in this space. That means we rely on the generosity of our readers who believe that this work is important. You can chip in for as little as 99 cents a month. If you believe in this mission, we need your help.

Dave Mann is a former editor of the Observer.

You May Also Like: