With an abundance of transportation contractors and the poor overall health of the global economy, Texas is in a good position to pick up some needed infrastructure on the cheap.
The transportation equation consists of two parts: revenue and spending. Until now neither side has adjusted in a direction that allowed for effective construction of new roads. Revenues that should have been available for congestion relief were being diverted, while at the same time bids for construction were skyrocketing.
Empower Texans and its membership has been calling for the end of diversions for some time which would have increased the revenue for construction. We and others have also been calling for more transparency in transportation planning and execution to make sure taxpayers are getting the best bang for its buck. Despite these efforts aimed at revenue and spending respectively, the transportation industrial complex has prevailed.
So, the news that one side has finally given way should be welcome to lawmakers who are truly worried about, and working responsibly to alleviate, strain on our transportation system. These lawmakers, instead of clamoring for higher taxes, will work to take advantage of this correction and be able to claim credit for their efforts.
Aside from being welcome relief from the relentless demand to raise taxes, this news should serve as a timely reminder on the fluid nature of the bidding process. Instead of over committing on bids, Texas should reexamine bidding practices and work harder to keep taxpayers in the drivers seat throughout the process.