Mobility Options: Gas Tax vs. Tolling
The state gas tax and the nation’s ability to build new roads are two issues that have made headlines recently. With booming populations and resulting urban sprawl, Congressional, state, and local leaders are looking at ways to address the growing demand for much-needed infrastructure and mobility options.
A CNN.com article addresses the crisis and dispels some myths about gas taxes. The article explains how cutting the gas tax exacts a steep cost on the entire economy. The gas tax, which funds a broad range of economy-bolstering transportation projects across the country, is woefully low to meet current and future infrastructure needs.The NTTA often receives inquiries from citizens asking why the region needs more toll roads along with a state gas tax to build new highway infrastructure.
The NTTA has been asked to fill the gap where state (gas tax) funds are not available. To meet the transportation needs of North Texas, the Texas Legislature and regional transportation officials have made a policy decision to rely on toll roads as a way to advance much-needed mobility projects. They set the policy, and the NTTA implements it.
Gas taxes, vehicle registration fees and other taxes are not used to maintain and operate NTTA toll roads. Rather, NTTA toll roads are operated and maintained through the sale of bonds that are repaid by collecting tolls from motorists who use the road.
Tolling is one mechanism to get roads built faster rather than waiting for sufficient state funding. The President George Bush Turnpike was built an estimated 10 years ahead of schedule as a toll road. Some studies also say toll roads actually decrease the pressure to increase the gas tax and free up gas tax dollars for other projects. For example, the $3.2 billion the NTTA paid for the right to operate, construct and maintain the Sam Rayburn Tollway is being used throughout the North Texas region to fund many non-tolled municipal and county transportation projects.
If you’d like more information on how toll roads get built or how the NTTA spends its money, please visit the NTTA’s investor information pages on www.NTTA.org, where you’ll find details about the NTTA’s finances and bond offerings. After all, our biggest investors are the drivers who make the choice to drive NTTA roads each and every day.