The Greater Houston Partnership on Thursday hosted a State of Transportation Address by Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.
Gerald Smith, the chair of the GHP Transportation Policy Committee, welcomed the large crowd at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Listen (4 minutes, 8 seconds)
GHA President and CEO Robert Harvey acknowledged the elected officials and other dignitaries in the room and introduced Dewhurst. Listen (5 minutes, 6 seconds)
“Governor Dewhurst has worked tirelessly to make Texas a national leader in job creation and the best place in America to do business,” Harvey said. “Under his watch, Texas has passed the largest tax cut in state history, balanced five state budgets and has continued to protect taxpayers by building and maintaining a healthy reserve in the state's Rainy Day Fund.”
Dewhurst said that the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature faces serious challenges in dealing with transportation issues. Listen (32 minutes, 19 seconds)
“We’ve appropriated $102.4 billion since 2004 for our highways,” Dewhurst said. “And what we end up doing – it’s like a cottage industry – we go out and we build new highways and then a million 18 wheelers cross the state of Texas and almost 21 million cars. We tear up our roads; so we turn around and build new highways again.”
He said that the legislative appropriations request from the Texas Department of Transportation for the next biennium is 20.4 billion dollars.
“We’ve got to continue building roads,” Dewhurst said. “We’ve got to focus on reducing congestion.”
He stressed that toll road construction is not the total answer.
“Some have got to be free,” he said. “So we’ve got to be bold, we’ve got to use much innovation; we’ve got to use our heads.”
He said it will be very important for legislators to win the public's support for transportation improvements.