Before the 2021 Texas legislative session began, the Transportation Advocacy Group-Houston Region, a coalition of businesses, nonprofits and other entities, planned on seeking support for transportation priorities from state legislators.

TAG Executive Director Andrea French said the organization plans on focusing on three major pieces of legislation: general transportation funding, indexing the gas tax and filing legislation regarding alternative-fueled vehicles paying into the State Highway Fund, which is made up of portions of oil and gas severance taxes, general sales tax and motor vehicle sales tax.

“Transportation is not like other investments that the state needs to make,” French said. “When you invest in transportation, you are also investing in jobs and the economy.”

To prepare for the legislative session, TAG has been hosting lunch-and-learn sessions throughout the year in order to continue promoting its message.

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Invest in transportation

TAG is asking for Texas legislators to continue funding transportation projects across the state because they have a direct effect on the economy.

  • Every $1 invested in transportation: $3-$6 in economic return

  • Every $1 billion invested in transportation: around 13,000 jobs created

  • Total funding currently needed for Houston highway projects: $19.5 billion

  • Other regional mobility project funding needed: $53 billion

Index the gas tax

TAG wants the gas tax to be indexed to keep up with the inflation rate.

Indexing could provide more funding for transportation projects, according to TAG.

  • The Texas gas tax was last changed in: 1991

  • Indexing does not mean an increase; indexing involves adjusting for the inflation rate.

  • Gas tax is used to fund the State Highway Fund.

Discuss alternative fuels

  • TAG wants to begin talks in 2021 regarding legislation for alternative-fueled vehicles, which currently do not contribute to the highway fund.

  • TAG wants to promote vehicle equity so more people contribute equally to the transportation fund.

  • “Something needs to be done,” TAG Executive Director Andrea French said.

  • French said it is not known what fee collection could look like.

Editor's note: This originally appeared in the December edition. The legislative session began Jan. 12.