Star-Telegram - What are your priorities for improving Texas' infrastructure?
Infrastructure problems make Texas less attractive to business, which concerns me greatly as Texas Comptroller being one of my responsibilities are to the growth of the Texas economy. With a workforce of over 12 million people, an unemployment rate that has been below the national average for over six years and as the national leader in exports for the 11th year in a row, Texas is one the most successful economies in this nation. By sticking to the conservative principles of low taxes, smart regulations, fair courts and restrained spending, we have made Texas the best place to live, work, raise a family and start a business. Texas gets 1,500 new arrivals daily, many of whom add to the congestion on its roads. Several business leaders and legislators say that infrastructure problems stem from a lack of political will to do anything that could be called a tax or a fee increase. In El Paso, Interstate 10 has become such a patchwork that the interstate is failing. Within the next three to five years, the transportation department will have to come up with funds and figure out a way to rebuild it without having an alternative route to detour traffic. The constitutional amendment, which will go on the ballot in November 2014, would put up $1.2 billion a year -- a little more than a quarter of the money the state needs to maintain the highway system at its current level of congestion. It would take another billion a year to ease the problems in El Paso, which is a standard example across the state. The biggest problem in Texas however is water, voters will be asked in November to put up $2 billion from the state's rainy-day fund to deal with a water shortage magnified by a historic drought. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn used Texas' water problems against Perry to draw business to Illinois.