Governor Abbott Addresses Transportation & Infrastructure Summit, Issues Directive To Transportation
Governor Greg Abbott today addressed the 5th Annual Brazoria County Transportation and Infrastructure Summit in Lake Jackson, TX where he discussed the many initiatives the Texas Legislature passed this session to improve infrastructure and ease congestion on Texas roads. At the summit, Governor Abbott also announced he has issued a directive to the Texas Transportation Commission to identify and address the state's most congested chokepoints and work with transportation planners and local communities across the state to reduce congestion and get new roads built as soon as possible.
"The State of Texas is spurring economic development and creating jobs by making an historic investment to build more roads and improve our infrastructure," said Governor Abbott. "That's why today I am directing the Texas Transportation Commission to create a focused initiative to identify and address the state's most congested chokepoints and work with transportation planners to get new roads built swiftly and effectively. Together we can set a new standard for business growth and job creation by building a lot more roads both here in Brazoria County and across Texas."
Governor Abbott's Transportation & Infrastructure Summit Remarks:
**Gov. Abbott often deviates from prepared remarks.
I want to thank the people at this summit who have helped build a better Texas. You helped Texas set an all-time record last year when we added over 450,000 jobs – the most ever for a year in Texas. Texas has also been the top exporting state for 13 years, we’ve been ranked the best state for doing business 11 years in a row. Texas was just selected as the top state in America for both foreign and domestic investment and our unemployment rate is now the lowest since 2001.
Despite the fall in oil prices, Texas remains the land of opportunity. Our economy is resilient and diversified. Five of the top 10 fastest-growing cities are in Texas. #1 is Houston, which Forbes dubs “America’s Economic Miracle.”
Despite lofty rankings, we focused the legislative session on making Texas even better.
While other states are raising taxes, Texas just slashed the business franchise tax by 25%. We also fast-tracked the permitting processes. We eliminated occupational license fees for 600,000 Texans and we exempted from the franchise tax veterans who start a business.
We’re also spurring economic development and creating jobs by making an historic investment to build more roads. With the passage of Proposition 1 last November, Texans sent a loud and clear message – they are tired of being stuck in traffic. Roads are too congested. It takes too long to move freight across our state.
A recent Texas Transportation Institute report showed the massive impact of congestion across the state. Just look at Austin and Dallas for example. Last year, congestion costs for the average “rush hour” commuter was over $1,000. And in Houston it was even worse – almost $1,500.
But it’s not just a big city problem. Congestion is growing in communities of every size. Simply put, congestion is costing Texas taxpayers time and money and the problem is only increasing.
To improve our infrastructure and make it the best in America, we passed legislation that dedicates more than $4 billion a year to build more roads without raising taxes, fees, tolls or debt. This funding comes from 3 places. One is the funding received from Proposition 1. Two, it ends diversions of state highway funds. Tax dollars paid for roads should be spent on roads. Third, it constitutionally dedicates part of the existing sales tax and motor vehicle sales tax.
This funding ensures TxDOT has the sustainable, recurring and predictable revenue needed to plan large-scale, multi-year construction projects.
Making this happen depends – in part – on you.
Texans must be prepared to rapidly respond with a well-planned approach. That’s why today I’m directing the Texas Transportation Commission to create a focused initiative to identify and address the state’s most congested chokepoints.
I’m directing TxDOT to work with transportation planners and local communities across the state to reduce congestion and get these roads built ASAP. Texans’ quality of life and our state economy are counting on swift success.
Let me mention one more priority. We want to help you – and other employers – with your workforce needs. I’ve heard from your employers – you need more and better skilled employees. The Texas Workforce Commission is working with colleges and employers to help train our students for the jobs that need to be filled.
We are making our 4-year programs more affordable & accessible.
But we must also understand that one size doesn’t fit all in education. Sometimes, a 2-year program is the best path for a student. For many, a 2-year degree is far more than a piece of paper. It’s a key that opens the door to economic freedom.
Advancing education helps you grow your business. It’s also great for our employees.
Texas truly is the best place for businesses large and small. We must do more than just keep it that way. Together we can set a new standard for business growth and job creation. And we can build a lot more roads here in Brazoria County and across Texas.
We want you to succeed. We need you to succeed. When you succeed, Texas succeeds. All that we ask is that you keep growing your businesses, keep hiring and keep Texas prosperous.
May God bless you and your families and may He forever bless the great State of Texas.