The state demographer recently released new projections that predict Texas’ population will double to 54.4 million by 2050. As population centers and economies in Texas continue to grow, the role of the building industry is pretty straightforward: Create and/or expand business and residential spaces to meet the demand for those spaces. In short, build more.
The role for transportation agencies and policy makers, however, is not as simple. That’s because expanding our transportation network at a pace equal to population growth is neither practical nor affordable. For a variety of reasons, we cannot simply build our way out of traffic congestion, a problem that worsens every year in our biggest cities, threatening the continued prosperity that rapid growth has brought to us.
I share my perspective on our transportation problems and potential solutions in the current issue of Texas Builder magazine, published by the Texas Association of Builders. I invite you to read the article and offer your own observations by commenting on this blog. Let’s keep the conversation going!
This problem can hit close to home for builders. Roadway gridlock impedes mobility, making it more difficult and more costly to simply get around. It can limit peoples’ employment options, which in turn can prevent them from trading up in the housing market. It restricts home buyers’ choices of where they can live, and threatens the viability of new subdivisions, because neighborhoods are not marketable if they are not accessible.
Worsening traffic and roadway conditions can also discourage businesses from building or expanding here. Those decisions involve a hefty financial investment. And if those who make such decisions don’t believe Texas is making sufficient investments of its own – transportation in this case – it’s easy to see why they’d take their new jobs somewhere else.