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Bigger in Texas
Growing Pains in the Lone Star State

It’s good time to move to Texas. At least, that’s what the numbers tell us. The state’s population is booming, as is its economy, the WSJ reports:

Aided by the promise of plentiful employment and a low cost of living, Texas added 1.3 million people from 2010 to 2013, more than any other state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Lone Star State’s population has pushed past 26 million and is projected to reach 40 million by 2050. […]

Many states were hit hard by the recession, but the Texas economy barely contracted. It shrunk by 0.5% in 2009, the state’s economic trough, and expanded by 4.1% in 2010, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. From 2010 through 2012, it grew faster than that of any other state except for North Dakota, which is bustling thanks to an oil boom.

But the state’s growing population is putting a tremendous strain on its infrastructure. Traffic is getting worse all the time, and a possible water crisis also looms. Texas will soon have pay for upgrades and expansions, but that has many in the small-government-loving Lone Star state wringing their hands.

In an age of ever more fuel-efficient vehicles, one attractive option would be to raise the state’s gas tax to help offset the costs of road repairs. Some are even calling for privately-owned toll roads. But there’s another option that could ease traffic congestion without raising taxes: Texans should telework.

The state will also have to beef up its spending on water infrastructure, and water scarcity remains one of the state’s biggest long-term challenges. But all in all, an excess of growth is a problem many states would love to have, chief among them California, which is also facing water shortages. Texans may grumble about their growing pains, but at least they’re growing.

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  • AllanDale

    The North American continent west of the Rocky Mountains is a coastal desert, which is why California requires water from four adjacent states to be pumped over two mountain ranges to make the place habitable. When the first humans came across the Bering land-bridge to the North American continent 15,000 years ago, they chose to settle in the southwestern corner of the continental steppe on the border between Texas and New Mexico near the modern settlements of Clovis and Folsom. That fact alone tells you all you need to know about the difference between the two states and their long-term prospects. When the plug is pulled on the military-industrial complex, California will revert to being the reserve of lazy, self-satisifed Europeans with nothing on their mind except warming their fat bodies in the sun as they wait for a ticket to the next world.

  • Andrew Allison

    I can’t figure out the point which is being made in this post. Is it that Texas has the same traffic and water problems California does (nonsensical), the suggestion that a small-government loving State can’t fix them, or just another plug for telework?

  • Bruce

    Another problem is that with all the growth, the school Districts are always requesting property tax raising bond issuances to build more Taj Mahals…………er school buildings for “the children.” As referenced, water rates are going up as finding and purifying additional water is not as cheap as the initial easy sources that are no longer sufficient. The roads are constantly under construction. That said, would you rather have growth or no growth? Most will opt for the growth, recognizing that it’s not a panacea, but is better than the alternative.

  • Breif2

    [Warning: The following comment may contain some traces of sarcasm.]

    It is an indisputable fact that Texas governor Rick Perry is a dumb hick, but he sure is a lucky dumb hick. How frustrating that our wise and learned leaders in Washington do not enjoy such luck.

    • Boritz

      Perry practices common sense which the learned point out is not a political philosophy so they have no use for it. That may be the genesis of luck good and bad.

  • Bretzky1

    There’s also the issue that Texas’s success has largely been achieved on the educational systems of higher cost states. As Texas gains economically, its citizens are going to demand a better public education system than now exists in the state (which is at best average by US standards), which is going to increase the cost of doing business and living in Texas as property taxes start climbing.

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