The Case for Transit Funding in Texas

If you’re reading this in a major Texas metro, you are currently experiencing about 1/3 the transit funding than you would experience in the other largest major US metros.

There is less bus frequency, less places you can get to by transit, less high quality rapid transit options, less fiscally productive real estate investment, and more people having to drive a lot more than they would like to.

We presented the following one pager to the Texas House Committee on Appropriations – S/C on Articles VI, VII & VIII Committee, as they had their initial discussion of the Texas Department of Transportation budget. You can see the testimony at 4:05:45 in this video.

One Pager:
A majority of 28 million Texans – growing to 50 million soon – want better public transportation and are willing to pay more to fund better transit.

Texas metro regions have 1/3 the transit funding our competitors have

  • Average local + state spending on public transportation across all states was $114 per capita in 2016, but only $64 per Texan.
  • Compared to the 8 other states with one or more of the 10 largest metro regions in the nation, Texans experience only 1/3 as much local + state transit funding per capita.
  • Average state funding of public transportation in America is $44 per capita – in Texas: $1.08
  • Only 17% of Americans live in the 15 states that fund public transit less than Texas.

Innovations in Texas transit is being watched, copied across the nation

  • Houston METRO’s bus system reimagining overhaul has been copied across the nation, including last year in Austin, with ridership up in Austin and other metros following Houston’s lead on efficient, frequent service.

We massively subsidize driving even though we’ve reached a point of little marginal benefit, with transit ready to help

  • TXDOT has asked for $41 million a year in funding for transit for rural areas, home to 6 million Texans – to meet basic needs.
  • Equal transit funding per capita for the 22 million other Texans: $160 million a year.
  • $330 million a year would raise us to Indiana standards for state transit funding per capita.

Texans want more transit funding

  • According to the 2016 TTI survey, “the most frequently cited change that Texans would like to see in order to improve the transportation system for them was to improve public transportation.”
  • Kinder Houston Area Survey: 92% of the 7.5 million Texans living in Houston region think “much-improved mass transit” is important.

We need to fix our transit funding problem

  • $201 million a year dedicated to public transit for rural and metropolitan areas, with $41 million for rural and small metros.
  • Let Texans vote on local options funding