Rep. Drew Darby came to Amarillo to warn fellow drivers that Texas highways could be in a bad way within the next two years if nothing is done. Darby is concerned that potholes and deteriorating asphalt roads are not being serviced properly.
The Texas state representative reached out to local elected officials and residents, about the future of Texas roads, through an educational program called "The Cost of Doing Nothing" hosted in Amarillo by Texas Good Roads Transportation Association (TGRTA).
"You get your goods and services in and out of this region through roads, and you've got great roads here," said Darby, "but we need to keep them great. If we don't spend money to maintain these roads, then they're gonna deteriorate."
The condition of Texas roads is one of the state's most important issues. Deteriorating roads cost the average Texas driver $1500 a year because of wasted energy, road wear on vehicles and loss of productivity because of traffic delays.
According to Darby, Amarillo's economy is especially vulnerable to highway maintenance due to I-40, I-27 and other major highways running through town.
According to the website of TGRTA if the current funding structure does not change the costs of road maintenance will rise above $5,300 a year based on a 25-year plan.
Many ideas have been proposed to lower the cost and raise money for roadwork, including raising vehicle registration fees. Texas ranks 44th in the nation for an average fee to register a vehicle.
If Texas were to add an additional $5 a month to register a vehicle $1.2 billion in additional funds could be raised.
Currently taxpayers are already paying indirectly for bad roads, Darby said, with higher retail expenses on goods such as grocery transportation and warehouse service, providers try to recover their costs by raising prices on the consumer.
State Representative Drew Darby was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2006 for District 72, San Angelo.
Drew has served on the House Committee on Appropriations. He is chairman of the Subcommittee on Natural Resources, Business & Economic Development and Regulatory Agencies and vice-chairman of the House Committee on Transportation.
Today's stop was part of a statewide tour with stops in Abilene, Big Spring, Brownwood, Wichita Falls and more.
More information about Texas Good Roads can be found at www.texasgoodroads.org.