The Dire States initiative toured Texas last week in support of Proposition 1 (the Texas Transportation Funding Amendment). The amendment, which would direct an estimated $1.4 billion annually from oil and gas tax revenues in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, will be on the Nov. 4 ballot and support investment in new highway and transportation construction and maintenance.
Dire States is a grassroots effort by Case Construction Equipment to raise awareness for the role that state and local governments play in securing infrastructure investment, through legislative initiatives, public-private partnerships (P3s), state revolving funds and other innovative funding methods. The effort kicked off with a nationwide tour in 2013 and 2014 by author and infrastructure expert Dan McNichol. McNichol circumnavigated the country in a 1949 Hudson that is as “old, rusty and energy defunct” as much of America’s infrastructure. In Texas, Case partnered with the Texas Good Roads and Transportation Association and ASCO Equipment.
“Like much of the country, Texas has underinvested in infrastructure,” said Lawrence Olsen, executive vice president, Texas Good Roads. “This amendment will serve as a good first step in providing new methods of investment—but it’s just that: a first step. Many state and independent organizations report significant funding gaps for years to come to simply maintain road and bridge maintenance/congestion at 2010 levels. Now is the time to build a better infrastructure for future generations.”
ASCO Equipment, a construction equipment dealer with 20 locations throughout Texas, recognizes the need for investment and the effect that it has on jobs and the state economy.
“There is a need for investment, and with that investment will come thousands of skilled jobs and increased investment in everything from manufacturing to aggregate production,” said Kirby Carpenter, strategic account manager, ASCO Equipment. “Infrastructure investment is a proven economy builder, and this amendment is a much-needed shot in the arm for infrastructure investment in Texas.”
The Dire States tour made its first pass through Texas in January, and Case immediately saw a correlation between the tour’s message and challenges facing Texas.
“While we fully support and recognize the need for infrastructure investment at the federal level, states and municipalities must stand up and find new ways to invest to achieve safe and modern infrastructure systems,” said Jim Hasler, vice president, Case Construction Equipment. “This includes everything from roads and bridges to energy transportation/distribution, ports, waste systems and transit. Texas has recognized this need and is taking a great step with this ballot initiative, and Case and Dire States will be here to support it.”
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