Texas has an estimated 314,000 miles of roads and highways, according to the Texas Comptroller. That’s more than any other state. Roughly one-quarter of these roadways are part of the state highway system, which is maintained by TxDOT. The rest are maintained by local governments. The Texas Department of Insurance states that, at any given time, there are nearly 40,000 road construction workers on 1,000 miles of roadway projects across the state.
More Residents = More Vehicle Miles Traveled
Commercial and passenger traffic both cause wear and tear to Texas’ roads. Daily vehicle miles traveled have increased in Texas by 15.5% from 2010 to 2016—a difference of about 100 million miles. The main drivers of this traffic increase were population grown and an uptick in economic activity. Texas’ population could double by 2050, says the Comptroller, to over 54 million, adding to the need for roadway expansion and improvement.
More Vehicle Miles Traveled = More Traffic
As Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio continue to grow by leaps and bounds, these cities and their suburbs will be looking to upgrade their roads and highways to cut down on traffic congestion.
The typical resident of these Texas cities loses dozens of hours each year to traffic congestion. Houston was recently rated by geolocation technology company TomTom as having the worst traffic congestion in Texas, with drivers losing an average of 46 hour per year due to traffic. In Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio, drivers lose an average of 39 hours and 36 hours per year, respectively, due to traffic.
Comparing this data to 2014 TxDOT data, traffic congestion in Texas cities has actually gotten better over the years. This could be explained by the large number of road construction projects across Texas. A look at Dallas construction projects shows that, in April 2021 alone, there were $60 million worth of completed TxDOT road works citywide. In May 2021, TxDOT had 23 planned roadway projects in the Dallas District, including signal improvements, concrete repairs, sidewalk improvements, and bridge replacements.
TxDOT recommends in its Texas Transportation Plan 2040 that the state invest $396 billion—or about $15 billion annually—to expand, maintain, and repair Texas roadways. Funding for road work comes primarily from state fuel taxes, auto registration fees, and federal highway funds. The rest comes from approved ballot measures Proposition 1 and Proposition 7.