Hiking Up Fee Could Help Houston's Congestion Problems, But Not Solve Them

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst says instead of taxes, maybe we should increase vehicle fees to pay for highways. A Houston-area transportation planner likes the idea. Wendy Siegle explains why.
The lieutenant governor told the Dallas Morning News that he’ll encourage lawmakers to seek out more money for highway construction. He said he won’t support a tax increase, but would possibly favor raising fees, namely on vehicle registration. Alan Clark is the director of transportation planning at the Houston-Galveston Area Council. He says if nothing is done, money for road projects could actually fall over the next ten years.

“I’m very encouraged that the legislator is talking about it and I think that there are many things they could do that would be a step in the right direction. Raising the vehicle registration fee could be one of those.”

Clark says if everyone in the greater Houston area paid $20 dollars more for vehicle registration, that would generate an additional $60 to $70 million dollars a year. Clark says the extra money would help repair some of the roads and pay for some new projects in the region. But he says it wouldn’t solve all of Houston’s congestion problems. He says moving people around the city doesn’t just come down to roads, but also public transit systems.

“We understand that it’s going to take more than just building new highways to have effective transportation and good mobility.”

Dewhurst hasn’t said how much the fee increase might be. But says he would want any change to go before voters, along with a list of projects the money would pay for.


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