State Sen. John Carona says in todayâ€™s Dallas Morning News that Texas must â€œstop the diversion of gas tax funds for other uses.â€ Thatâ€™s welcome news. While the stateâ€™s constitution currently requires transportation funds to be used for transportation expenses, â€œtransportationâ€ is a constantly-expending term.
According to the Morning News, almost a third of Texasâ€™ gasoline tax revenues for transportation have been â€œdivertedâ€ away from true transportation projects.
As much as this is a question of policy (roads relieve congestion, not silly â€œmassâ€ transit projects that donâ€™t take people where they want to go in the time the need to be there), this is a question of honesty. Our gasoline taxes are paid explicitly under the presumption that the money is going to the upkeep and construction of roads in the Lone Star State.
Carona wants a constitutional amendment that would force the legislature to more tightly control the spending of transportation funds.
The stateâ€™s Transportation Commissioner, Ric Williamson, says in the same article that while the diversion of funds has been legal, that â€œdoesn’t mean it is what the Legislature ought to do.â€
Honesty and transparency. Two pretty good cornerstones for the effective management of the taxpayer’s moneyâ€¦ We’ll see if it catches on.