e-Texas Online, not in line.
null Home Events News Hearings Contact


Asset & Financial Management
Competitive Government
Education (K-16)
Environment/Natural Resources
Government Performance
Health Care & Human Services
Human Resource Management
Legislative Advisory Group
Local Government Empowerment
Public Safety & Corrections
Regulatory Reform
  - Meetings
- Staff


Window on State Government

Transportation Task Force

Houston, February 17, 2000

Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander Hears Houston Transportation Concerns


Texas must find ways to make transportation more efficient, more equitable and more effective according to testimony at Thursday's Transportation Performance Review hearing.

speakers at the meeting Alan Clark, Houston-Galveston Area Council, speaks at a transportation hearing as Massey Villarreal, e-Texas Transportation commissioner; Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander; and Robert Eckels, Harris County Judge listen.

"Even with so many of us on the Information Highway, we must continue to improve our basic transportation system," Comptroller Rylander said. "Texans drive more than 16 million vehicles over 367 million miles every day. We want to find ways to improve the quality of our statewide transportation services, while maximizing the state's financial resource investment."

Roughly 50 people were on hand for a transportation hearing hosted by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander.

Comptroller Rylander was told that $1.9 billion is lost annually because of Houston transportation congestion, with 780,000 hours per day lost in work hours.

The Legislature, in the 76th session, charged the Comptroller's office with reviewing the Texas Department of Transportation to find ways to improve Texas' transportation system.

Major Issues

Major issues raised by panelists and audience members included:

  • Finding new ways to fund transportation projects, as well as new ways to increase transportation funding;
  • Searching for ways to complete transportation projects faster and more efficiently by coordinating the activities of the transit authority, toll authority and Texas Department of Transportation; and
  • Recognizing that increased economic development is tied to efficient transportation.


"People understand roads are not free," said Robert Eckels, Harris County judge. "And the people of Houston are receptive to toll roads."

Bernard Koudelka, assistant director of the Toll Authority in Houston, said toll roads are the alternative for the future and that the toll authority sells 11,000 toll tags a month. He added that 45 percent of toll road users have a toll tag.

Other funding ideas discussed include:

  • paying for transportation systems based on amount and value of use;
  • including private providers to help pay for transportation systems;
  • adding special use lanes for high occupancy volume vehicles, transit vehicles and goods movement; and
  • charging fees for those who do not fall under the above categories, but want to drive in special use lanes in peak transportation periods.

"Transportation technology is not the problem, government is the problem," Eckels said. "We need better coordination of government activities, more flexibility in designing projects and additional funding for those projects."

Alan Clark, Houston-Galveston Area Council, said, "Users of the transportation system of the 21st Century will expect and demand timely, reliable, accessible information."

"Tax payers want to go where they want to go," Clark said. "They don't care if a road is a state, county or city responsibility."

Robert Eckels, Harris County Judge; Alan Clark, Houston-Galveston Area Council; John Butler, Jr., former TxDOT commissioner; Bernard Koudelka, assistant director of Houston Toll Authority; Johnny Johnson, TxDOT commissioner; Robert Nichols, TxDOT commissioner all listen at a transportation hearing hosted by Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander.

By coordinating all transportation agency activities and combining resources, project completion time would be cut down.

John Butler, Jr., former Texas Department of Transportation commissioner, said "freeways have as much economic impact on communities as any other transportation means."

"Economic development follows primary roads. To add new jobs, the transportation infrastructure will have to be in place," Butler said.

Without a good transportation system in place, jobs, money and time are all lost.

"In Houston, $1.9 billion is lost per year due to transportation congestion, 780,000 hours per day are lost in work hours," Butler said.

And quality of life is diminished, according to Butler. He said that traffic congestion causes lost time with family, and that cars sitting idle reduces air quality.

"Vehicle traffic will have increased by 82 percent in the 20 years from 1990 to 2010," Butler said.

e-Texas is an initiative of Carole Keeton Rylander, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Post Office Box 13528, Capitol Station
Austin, Texas

Privacy Policy
State of Texas Home Page Statewide Search from the Texas State Library