The Texas Legislature finally dealt with the problem of highway funding — sort of. Strong population and economic growth have increased traffic on the state’s highways, but funding has not risen accordingly and the system is severely strained. Despite much debate through the regular session and a trio of special sessions, the final deal punts the issue to voters and doesn’t really solve the problem in any case.
Texas’ population has been expanding faster than most areas due to (1) a relatively high fertility rate (and, thus, rate of natural population increase) and (2) a growing economy attracting people in from elsewhere. The number of Texans more than doubled from 1970 to 2010 (to 25.1 million) and is now approaching 27 million. Depending on the assumed rate of people moving into the state, by 2050, this number could well double again.
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Dr. M. RAY PERRYMAN is founder and president of The Perryman Group, an economic and financial analysis firm in Waco.