Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 20 of 61
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roads will be left to the direct supervision of the commissioners courts
of the various counties in Texas, which counties will then be entitled
to spend all their road and bridge funds in constructing and maintaining
their side, or cross roads.
FINANCING THE BUILDING OF HIGHWAYS.
Whether Texas elects to comply with the requirements which will
entitle her to continue to receive Federal aid or whether she chooses
to construct her highways unaided, the source of revenue for the
building of our highways is a question of prime importance. The
problem of financing the building of highways may be viewed from
two angles. It may first be considered as a question involving the
equitable division of construction expenses between the present taxpayer
and future generations. This calls for meeting the cost of
highway building jointly by taxes and by bonds. A second viewpoint
of the just distribution of financial responsibility deals with the division
of such cost between those actually using the highway and the
taxpayers in general.
Under our present system regarding the county as a unit, the citizens
in each county have generally followed the plan of voting bonds
for road construction, thus equalizing the cost between this and future
generations receiving the benefits, and scattering over a period of
years the burden of payment. By some it is considered wise that the
State should adopt a similar policy, involving the issuance of bonds.
If the State should follow this procedure in financing and taking over
the construction of designated State highways, those counties which
have already expended large sums in highway improvement should
receive credit for the money already spent as compared with the counties
having little or no money invested in such improvement.
Many other thoughtful suggestions have been offered for financing a
great system of State highways. It has been proposed by some that
the users of the road pay the entire maintenance cost; others suggest
that property owners whose land is adjacent to and served by the
highway, bear a proportionate part of the road building and maintenance
tax. Some States have advocated and adopted a tax on gasoline,
others an added tax on motor vehicles.
Whatever may be the wisest policy for Texas to adopt with a view
of financing a broad and comprehensive plan of road building, in
keeping with the progress and future development of this splendid
commonwealth, we can without doubt rely on a patriotic citizenship
and on a progressive law-making body to solve aright this State-wide
problem and give to Texas a road building system second to none beneath
the Stars and Stripes.
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Neff, Pat M. Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation, book, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5835/m1/20/: accessed April 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .