Soy Transportation Coalition: Predictable Funding for Locks and Dams
This report, for the Soy Transportation Coalition, analyzed and highlighted inefficiencies and cost escalations resulting from unpredictable and piecemeal funding of the nation’s locks and dam infrastructure. First, researchers conducted a literature review that assessed the current lock and dam prioritization process. Researchers then reviewed the current US Army Corps of Engineers cost estimation process, examined the Corps infrastructure prioritization process, and finally conducted a funding scenario analysis. This analysis examined costs of a project that was funded through current methods compared to the same project using a more “predictable and reliable” funding scenario.
Highway Cost Index Estimator Tool
To plan and program highway construction projects, the Texas Department of Transportation requires accurate construction cost data. However, due to the number of, and uncertainty of, variables that affect highway construction costs, estimating future funding needs can be an exceedingly difficult task. This research project sought to improve future forecasting projections through the creation of a Highway Cost Index Estimator Tool.
Economic Impact Study of Proposed Passenger Rail from DFW to Meridian, MS
This project evaluated the economic impacts, travel benefits, and broader corridor planning issues that would be associated with the development of intercity passenger rail service between the DFW region and Meridian, Mississippi as an extension to the existing long distance Amtrak Crescent route. In order to estimate the economic impacts of the proposed new service, researchers examined economic impacts on visitor spending and construction. Researchers conducted this analysis with IMPLAN, an economic planning input-output model. Results included employment gains, labor income gains, and the total value added to economy, resulting from rail station construction and increased visitor spending.
Port Freeport Economic Impact Analysis
This report estimated the total economic impact of operations at Port Freeport. Researchers investigated the major stakeholders, key statistics and impact on the economy, and funding legislation of the Texas Port System. Additionally, researchers examined the history, current development, and terminal additions of Port Freeport. The economic impact analysis was conducted using an input-output model developed and maintained by TTI.
Summary and Status of Concession Agreements (CDA/DB) in Texas
Concession agreements have been used across the United States to help state departments of transportation and local governments deliver roadway projects in a fiscal environment that has seen reduced public investment in infrastructure. This research provides a comprehensive review of concession agreements in Texas, examining them from both a financial and operational perspective.
Texas Gulf Intracoastal Waterway Master Plan
This research analyzed what is needed to restore and sustain the GIWW to its optimum level, and how TxDOT might be able to play a more active role in the realization of this goal. The end result of this research effort was a master plan that describes the needs, costs, obstacles to TxDOT taking a more active role, shortfall in federal funding levels, potential funding sources to fill the funding gap, and metrics to enable TxDOT to measure, monitor, and manage the condition and utility of the GIWW.
Innovative Finance Strategic Research Project
This study helped bring clarity and structure to the multitude of different infrastructure funding strategies that are now being used. It describes key elements of several different funding philosophies and discusses current trends in the funding policy.
Estimating the economic impact of transportation improvements has previously proven to be a difficult task. There are various methods and models currently in use that all establish their own unique parameters but have no consistent standards or definitions in common with each other. There is a need to set standards for economic impact measurements and incorporate these measures into a refined and usable system.
This project examines the current and historical techniques utilized in transportation economic impact studies to determine how effective the available methods are and to develop a cohesive method that is both user-friendly and functional for various levels of analysis.
These results can be used to determine the economic effects of specific projects as well as educate the general public as to the impacts transportation improvements, or lack of improvements, have and will have on their community. The resulting economic impact model will allow decision-makers to see the effects transportation improvements have on the local market and enable them to make more informed choices.
In 2008, Texas Transportation Commission Chair Deirdre Delisi appointed members of the original 2030 Committee. The initial charge of this committee made up of experienced and respected business leaders was to provide an independent, authoritative assessment of the state’s transportation infrastructure and mobility needs from 2009 to 2030. The report that emerged from the first 2030 Committee, entitled 2030 Committee Texas Transportation Needs Report, was released in February 2009 and can be found, along with its executive summary, on the Committee’s website: http://texas2030committee.tamu.edu.
In July 2010, Chair Delisi reconvened the 2030 Committee, which includes most of the original committee members, and charged it with developing a forecast for alternative levels of service for the four elements of the Texas transportation system—pavements, bridges, urban mobility and rural connectivity—along with analyzing potential sources of transportation revenue and determining the economic effects of under-investing in the system. The Committee provided guidance and direction to a team of transportation experts at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (The Texas A&M University System); the Center for Transportation Research (The University of Texas at Austin); and The University of Texas at San Antonio. The current report, It’s About Time: Investing in Transportation to Keep Texas Economically Competitive, updates the February 2009 report by providing an enhanced analysis of the current and future state of the Texas transportation system.
- D.R. Ellis, T.J. Lomax, T.H. Parker, B.A. Glover, N.D. Norboge, W.A. Crittenden, D.L. Schrank, R. Harrison, M. Murphy, Z. Zhang, S. Chi, J. Weissmann, A. Weissmann. It’s About Time: Investing in Transportation to Keep Texas Economically Competitive. 0-6666-TTI-1. Texas A&M Transportation Institute, College Station, TX. March 2011.
- D. Ellis, T.J. Lomax, T.H. Parker, B.A. Glover, N.D. Norboge, W.A. Crittenden, D.L. Schrank, R. Harrison, M. Murphy, Z. Zhang, S. Chi, J. Weissmann, A. Weissmann. It’s About Time: Investing in Transportation to Keep Texas Economically Competitive. Executive Summary. 0-6666-TTI-2. Texas A&M Transportation Institute, College Station, TX. March 2011.
Alternative Transportation Funding Scenarios and Their Impact on Delay
This document provides responses to questions posed by Representative Drew Darby, Chair of the House Subcommittee on Transportation Funding, a subcommittee of the House Select Committee on Transportation Funding, chaired by Representative Larry Phillips. The questions were regarding various alternative transportation funding scenarios and the effect of traffic congestion on consumer costs and the general economy.
- Alternative Transportation Funding Scenarios and Their Impact on Delay
- Transportation Policy Research: Finance
Responses to Questions from the Texas House of Representatives Select Committee on Transportation Funding
Following testimony presented by Dr. David Ellis of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) to the House Select Committee on Transportation Funding in April 2010, The Honorable Eddie Rodriguez, Vice Chair of the Committee, asked TTI in May 2010 to respond to a series of questions regarding transportation funding needs and impacts in Texas. This document provides responses to those questions based on the latest research that TTI has performed in these areas and the latest data available.
The vast majority of transportation economic analyses focus on the accumulated value of the benefits to a state or region from transportation investment. There are few studies, templates or models that delve into the specific issues raised by the Committee; that is, specific impacts on: jobs, business success and individual households. Of course, these are important building blocks in making informed decisions.
Absent traditional processes to guide this fundamental analysis, TTI has used a myriad of sources to assemble credible, meaningful responses to the critical questions posed by the Committee. This process has uncovered a shortcoming in tools available to legislators and transportation professionals in responding quickly to questions like these. TTI recommends identifying research funding to support the work of closing that gap in knowledge in order to better respond to both state leaders and the general public in the future.
- Responses to Questions from the Texas House of Representatives Select Committee on Transportation Funding
- Transportation Policy Research: Finance
Cost of Delay
All departments of transportation (DOTs) face delays on highway projects. They often have anecdotal accounts of the significant financial impact that the delay of a highway project had on project costs, local businesses and commuters, and other users of the highway. But in many cases hard data on the financial impact are lacking. This project for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) aims to develop a simple but sound methodology for estimating the cost of delaying most types of highway projects.
- Assessing the Costs Attributed to Project Delay — presented at 2011 Transportation Short Course
Freight Shuttle System
In July 2011, researchers developed an economic sketch planning tool to determine the economic impacts associated with the Freight Shuttle System (FSS). TTI researchers first compiled a list of assumptions and estimates relevant for this analysis. The TTI FSS design team and other stakeholders helped the TTI economics research team develop a list of 47 assumptions concerning factors such as transporter construction cost, approximate transporter units constructed, and the location of each FSS component. TTI researchers then employed an economic model to help predict future economic benefits from the FSS project. An input-output (I/O) model is a quantitative technique that can be used to measure the economic impacts of large infrastructure investments. This model was used to help determine the economic impact associated with infrastructure investment. The 157-sector model was then used as a tool to generate direct employment, direct income, and final demand.
Transportation Funding Initiatives Pursued by all 50 U.S. States
In January 2012, TTI worked to provide a survey of recent initiatives pursued by other states. This analysis included both enacted and proposed (that is, not enacted) legislation pursued by other states within the past three years.
Tiger Grant Benefit-Cost Analysis
TTI finance researchers collaborated with the Center for Ports and Waterways to develop a TIGER benefit-cost analysis for two Texas ports. The formal benefit-cost analysis (BCA) was conducted using best practices in transportation planning and reflecting all TIGER IV grant application guidelines. To the maximum extent possible given available data, the formal BCA prepared in connection with this TIGER grant application reflects quantifiable economic and social benefits.