Posted by Ellen Krafve - email
It's the number one need facing East Texas, but one local politician says the money to solve the problem is just not there. Next week, the state legislature goes back into session and finding money to build roads will be a hot topic.
Senator Kevin Eltife says he's got a plan to get them built without putting the state further in debt. But, it's going to cost you. When it comes to raising taxes, senator Kevin Eltife is normally against it, but Eltife says the state has borrowed too much money, and our roads are only getting worse.
"I serve 16 counties and every county I serve, the one thing they need from the state is money for roads and bridges and street improvements," said Eltife. "I mean look at Tyler. We can't even finish the outer loop, and we've been working on it for 20 years. Right now, Senator Eltife says the state only has the funds to meet a third of our road and bridge projects.
What's the alternative?
Senator Eltife says it's time the state increases our gas tax and index it to inflation. He also says the state has to stop diverting the money it does make off gasoline to other needs.
"To me, it's the conservative thing to do is pay cash now instead of continuing to borrow money. We are borrowing ourselves into an oblivion, and it's going to cost the future generations of texans a lot of money," said Eltife.
Eltife says he would not support a tax increase of more than two to three cents a gallon. East Texans we spoke to today said they would support such a tax as long as the money goes toward our roads.
"There are a lot of county roads in really bad shape," said Michael Thompson. "It's an alright deal. You know it's got to get paid for."
Paid with money Eltife says the state does have not what it will eventually have to pay back.