AUSTIN, Texas — On the November general election ballot, Texas voters will be asked to approve a constitutional amendment diverting dollars currently intended for the state’s “rainy day fund” to the state’s highway fund. The premise of the “yes” campaign to Proposition 1 is that Texas is running out of funds to build and maintain state highways.
But recent reports show that the Texas Department of Transportation is spending the current gas-tax dollars on projects unrelated to building roads.
Christopher Paxton, a policy analyst for Empower Texans, has found that TxDOT commissions have allocated hundreds of millions of dollars intended for road construction to passenger rail lines in Austin, Dallas and El Paso.
“At the most recent Texas Transportation Commission hearing, the agency topped its already extensive flair for the ridiculous,” said Paxton.
In a spending proposal entitled “Emerging Transportation Technology Research Initiatives,” some $50 million would be used to fund research on driverless cars, drones, jetpacks, a “hyperloop” and even hoover cars.
Paxton says these expenditures could simply be considered “mock-worthy” were it not for the fact state legislators and TxDOT officials are “publicly feigning poverty” going into the November election.
“If TxDOT is running out of money, and there is no doubt building highway infrastructure is expensive, then they shouldn’t be spending our scarce dollars on jetpack research and passenger rail cars,” Paxton told Breitbart Texas, “They cannot at the same time be claiming to be running out of gas while also accelerating spending on fantasy projects and vanity programs.”
Michael Quinn Sullivan is president of Empower Texans and a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. He can be found on Twitter: @MQSullivan.