Highway Funding Falling Short in Texas

Within the next three years the state highway fund could reach the point where maintenance projects can no longer be funded.

It's an issue this region knows all too well.

The sprawling urban landscapes of Texas may begin to hog the limited funding of a state organization.

But when it comes to highway funding on rural Panhandle roads, it could begin to jeopardize your safety.

"You can't call it a crisis, I think that word is used too much, But we are reaching critical mass when it comes to the highway funds," said Paul Braun, the Texas Department of Transportation Public Information Officer.

16 cents from every gallon of gas sold in Texas goes toward the state highway fund, but less gas is being bought, and the fund is drying up.

TxDOT says it's going to be put in a position to pick and choose where funds go, which could cause the highway system to deteriorate.

"But it's really critical for the rural areas because a lot of money is going to the urban areas and it's leaving money short for the rural areas and we have issues here too," said Braun.

The state estimates one thousand people move into Texas every day, with a majority settling down within 40 miles of the I-35 corridor.

This increase is causing TxDOT to focus on new construction in that area, the opposite of what Panhandle highways need.

"Most of our issues are maintenance. We may not have congestion problems like urban areas but we have major issues with out changing weather we need to keep up with that," said Braun.

The legislature is looking into new ways to fund TxDOT projects, but no action has been taken yet.