Spring 2013 - 62610 - PA680PB - Policy Research Project | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Spring 2013 - 62610 - PA680PB - Policy Research Project

Examining TX Highway Funding Options

To prepare for the 2013 state legislative session, Lt. Governor Dewhurst issued an interim co-charge to the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee to:

Study and make recommendations regarding the methods of financing for capital investment in the state’s transportation system. Examine ways to prevent further wear and tear on our roadways and reduce congestion in the system. Consider the long-term impact of the debt accumulation of debt for transportation projects, as well as the total cost of vehicle ownership as a result of varying levels of congestion and road maintenance. Educate and inform the public regarding the seriousness of the transportation challenges to better engage the public in forming a solution.

Having a vital interest in any legislative outcomes related to the highway finance, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is funding a PRP on the subject.

PRP Objectives:

  • Identify a menu of feasible practical funding options to support state highway infrastructure investments in the movement of both people and freight;
  • Provide an analysis of the functioning and implications of the potentially most viable options;
  • Assess the comparative merits of the most viable options in terms of revenue generation, equity considerations, administrative costs, technical feasibility of implementation, and other evaluation criteria; and,
  • Suggest alternative mechanisms to “Educate and inform the public regarding the serious of the transportation challenges…”


Fall Semester Activities: In recent years, any number of diverse organizations have published reports on the subject of transportation finance, including federal and state agencies, think tanks, trade associations, and universities.

PRP students will review and compare studies performed by American Association of State Transportation and Highway Officials, National Industrial Transportation League, Brookings Institution, National Chamber Foundation, U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO), Federal Highway Administration, the Council of State Governments, individual states, and even other countries.

Students also will conduct interviews with officials at the various organizations to ascertain “lessons learned” since the publication of their studies.

Spring Semester Activities: The Spring semester will coincide with the next legislative session. PRP students will work closely with TxDOT to determine how best to provide assistance in terms of contributing to the preparation of any combination of:

  • Briefing papers
  • Position papers
  • Legislative testimony
  • Provide background information
  • Potential funding options and/or recommendations
  • Alternative mechanisms for informing the public

Because this PRP section and Dr. Gamkhar's PRP section are working on the same TXDOT project, the two classes will meet together.

SRH 3.220