ODESSA, TX (KWES) - According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the 12 county TXDOT Odessa District is seeing a growing number of accidents to match the unprecedented economic growth.
In 2017, the 1.6% of Texas’ population who reside in the Odessa District generated 3.23% of all state sales tax. In the first 2 reported quarters of 2018, that number grew to just over 4%.
In 2017, Midland and Odessa, alone, generated $100 million more in state sales tax than Abilene, Amarillo, Lubbock, and San Angelo, combined, and Midland and Odessa generated $200 million more than El Paso.
In the first 2 quarters of 2018, Midland and Odessa have generated 60% of the state sale tax revenue collected in Travis County.
TxDOT also reports, area infrastructure has not kept pace with the economic, population, and workforce growth, and the results are apparent.
The lack of infrastructure has negatively affected the quality of life in the Permian Basin, but it has also resulted in a devaluation of West Texas Intermediate.
That devaluation has cost the State of Texas an estimated $1.3 billion in state severance revenue during the current biennium.
Locally, the effects hit much closer to home. In just the last 3 years, crashes in the Odessa District are up 67% and fatalities are up 97%, while commercial motor vehicle (CMV) related crashes are up 160% and CMV related fatalities are up 122%.
In 2018, the Odessa District with 1.6% of the state population was responsible for nearly 15% of all statewide CMV fatal crashes. It would take all of the CMV related fatal crashes in the Houston and Fort Worth Districts to equal the number that occurred in the Odessa District.
“We realize there is a lot more that needs to be done at the regional level by groups like ours, companies, and citizens to address safety and driver behavior,” said James Beauchamp, President of the MOTRAN Alliance, “But the rapid growth in the Odessa District has led to capacity constraints that have not been addressed by the state. If even a small part of the increasing revenues generated by the Permian Basin could be re-invested in area infrastructure, ultimately that investment will create even greater rewards for the state.”
From 2005 to 2018, the Odessa District, saw the 7th largest increase in registered vehicles and was 9th in increased population among the 25 TXDOT Districts around the state.
During that same time, the Odessa District ranked 5th in the increase of Daily Vehicle Miles (DVM) among those same 25 districts and was the only district in the state that saw over a 100% increase in daily vehicle miles.
“Keep in mind, we aren’t playing a percentage game, all the data referenced is based upon raw numerical increases. Yet despite our increased revenue generation for the state and enormous growth, the Odessa District has ranked 20th among the 25 districts for added lane miles,” said Beauchamp.
“Much of the response by the state in our region, and specifically, the Odessa District, has revolved around maintenance and pavement conditions. We certainly understand and share those concerns. But just as pipeline companies have fast-tracked plans to more than double existing pipeline capacity for the area in the next few years, we need immediate action to begin providing added capacity roadway improvements here in the Odessa District to match that industry activity and growth.”
“If we are to address the growth we have already seen during the last decade, the increased growth that is already occurring, and help reduce crashes and fatalities, we need additional funding now to address capacity issues.”
Beauchamp estimated just under $500 million is needed to address critical issues in the Odessa District, excluding improvements now being planned for the Interstate 20 corridor.
“$500 million over the next 2 to 5 years in the Odessa District sounds like a lot of money, but when you look at $835 million in increased severance taxes from this same area just between 2017 and 2018, and over a $700 million gain in sales tax revenue during that time, this is probably one of the best investments the State of Texas could make,” said Beauchamp.