As gas prices continue to soar, we frequently find ourselves wanting to know how our gas tax is being spent.    

The first part of the question is easy:  We pay 18.4 cents of every gallon to the federal government and 20 cents to the state tax.  Where does that go? Now you would think that it would all go to things like maintaining and/or widening existing roads and building new ones, right?  It doesn’t.

First of all, Article 8 Section 7-a of our State Constitution says that 25% of the 20 cents collected in taxes goes to the “Available School Fund.”  How about the other 75%?

According to the State budget, it goes to a lot of places.  Here’s a small sample:
  • Department of Public Safety: $5.4 billion
  • Medical Transportation Program: $111.8 million
  • Department of Criminal Justice: $30 million
  • Gulf Intracoastal Waterway: $11.6 million
  • Aviation: $208 million
  • Vehicle Sales Tax to General Revenue: $1.4 billion
  • County Roads: $77.2 million
  • Mental Health Mental Retardation: $13.9 million
  • Texas Historic and Arts Commissions: $9.6 million
  • Auto Theft Prevention: $20.4 million
  • Cemetery Land: $7.5 million

In their October 2007 Toll Equity Plan, the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (ARMA) breaks it down like this:
  • 50% goes to transportation
  • 25% goes to Public Schools
  • 22% goes to the DPS and “other” agencies
  • 3% goes to administration and “miscellaneous” costs

In April, The Newspaper.com had a story about how TxDOT gave $20 million in gas taxes to the Woodall Rodger Park Foundation so they could build a 5.2 acre park in Dallas (see article Texas: Gas Tax Dollars Spent to Build Park dated April 15, 2008 ).  In the meantime, TxDOT claims it has no money for road expansion and therefore must install toll roads (see the "Highway Robbery" flyer).

Our point is this: Our elected officials need to stop diverting our gas tax dollars (over $10 billion) to other projects and keep them for their intended purpose, transportation.  If we do that then we can keep our roadways as FREEways and avoid new toll taxes.

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