Please take a look at the list of questions listed below, and click the appropriate one for a quick answer to your inquiry.
The Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA) is a political subdivision of the State of Texas created in 2007 by act of the El Paso City Council.
State legislation authorized the creation of Regional Mobility Authorities (RMA) in 2001 to give communities the flexibility to meet the challenge of funding their local transportation needs. The CRRMA provides local leadership on transportation and helps address congestion problems by developing and building infrastructure to keep the El Paso region moving.
The CRRMA’s governing board consists of seven appointed members: the Chair is appointed by the Governor of Texas, while the remaining six members are appointed by the El Paso City Council. Per state legislation and by the governance of the board, the agency is accountable and subject to all state open government and open meetings requirements.
The enabling legislation of RMAs allows the CRRMA to meet the challenge of funding mobility improvements through the study, evaluation, design, finance, acquisition, construction maintenance, repair and operation of transportation projects. Such projects could include, but are not limited to: highways, rail facilities, parking facilities, certain roadways, ferries and airports, pedestrian and bicycle paths, intermodal hubs, international crossings and mass transit systems.
The CRRMA’s mission is to meet the challenge of funding our local transportation needs by developing and implementing needed infrastructure to keep our region moving. It is our mission to improve mobility in the El Paso region.
With toll funding, we can build toll projects more quickly than under the traditional gas-tax-funded, pay-as-you-go system, because toll projects receive full funding commitments prior to construction start. We also need to build those projects before it’s too late – while right-of-way is still affordable and before corridors are developed and would require displacing and disrupting businesses, homes or schools.
In addition, the CRRMA operates these local roadways so that the control and toll revenue stays in El Paso.
No. Tolling is a voluntary user fee paid by customers (commuters) for a service when they need it. Paying taxes is not a choice. Drivers have the option to pay tolls or take alternate routes while taxes are mandatory and charged to everyone. Without the ability to use tolling as a funding source, local and state agencies must rely on existing or increased tax-funded sources. The gas tax as a funding source has remained static since 1991 even though fuel costs have risen.
No, we are not authorized to raise taxes.
State and federal fuel taxes are the primary funding source for roads and bridges in Texas. A majority of those dollars are paying for construction as well as maintenance and operation of transportation infrastructure across the state. Some gas tax dollars have historically been diverted to other non-transportation purposes, and what is spent on transportation is mostly spent on existing roads. Right now, TxDOT spends as much each year on highway maintenance as it collects in gas tax revenue. As more roads are built, a greater share of available funding goes to maintenance.
Gas tax as a funding source has remained static since 1991 even though construction costs have risen. The Federal government hasn’t increased its portion of the gas tax since 1993, and Texas hasn’t seen a state gas tax increase since 1991. Gas taxes are based on cents per gallon, not a percentage. The 20 cents per gallon state gas tax has lost nearly half its purchasing power to inflation since 1991.
Because the gas tax is set at a static amount, decreases in consumer demand due to people driving less and/or driving more fuel-efficient vehicles will also show up as less revenue. Furthermore, Texas is also a “donor state” at the federal level, which means that it gets less in federal funding than it pays in federal gas taxes.
When you factor in the state’s robust population growth and the resulting demand on the roadway infrastructure, funding has not kept up with demand, thus congestion will get worse. Because of this, innovative financing options are considered crucial to funding new projects.
Of note, gas tax revenues collected by the state do not always return to the most congested regions. The CRRMA uses local dollars to meet local needs.
No. Texas state law prohibits adding tolls to existing, taxpayer-funded roadways. While many of the new toll roads are to be constructed in existing highway corridors, the existing capacity must be preserved or enhanced. The toll roads will be built in the middle of or alongside the existing roadway, which will remain non-tolled.
The CRRMA executes regional plans that have been developed by the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization. No entity can build roads that are not a part of the regional plan. In addition, the MPO decides what roads will be tolled or not. Based on what financing is available, no road can be tolled without it being in the regional plan as a tolled road.