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An 11,000-Mile Trip, a 1949 Car, and One Big Point About U.S. Infrastructure

Can you compare a 1949 Hudson car to America’s aging infrastructure?

Best-selling author and award-winning journalist Dan McNichol thinks so – and says it's time to rebuild.

McNichol is driving an antique Hudson across the United States for several months, traveling 11,000 miles with stops in cities including Boston, San Diego, Washington and Austin to raise awareness about the state of America’s infrastructure – and what can be done about it.

Proponents of Texas' transportation funding ballot proposition – Prop 1 in a statewide election this November ­– met with McNichol yesterday to discuss the state of the state's infrastructure. If Prop 1 passes, it would take $1.4 billion in state oil and gas production taxes and give that money to the State Highway Fund. The money will be used to help complete transportation construction, as well as maintain and rehabilitate infrastructure projects across Texas.

McNichol notes Texas is experiencing an energy boom – and that’s what makes it unique. "There are other energy booms going on, but nothing quite as big as Texas," said McNichol. "No other state that I’ve come across, that I’m aware of, has anything like Texas has in place for the funding and is truly groundbreaking."

That makes Texas a unique stop on McNichol's "Dire States" tour – one with ample room to fund infrastructure upgrades and repairs. 

"Proposition 1 is not going to solve our problems,” said ASCO Equipment's Kirby Carpenter. The company partnered with the Texas Good Roads and Transportation Association and "Dire States" sponsor CASE Construction Equipment to support Prop 1 on McNichol's Texas tour.

Carpenter said while Prop 1 is welcome, Texas needs closer to $4 billion annually to meet its infrastructure needs. "Doing nothing is certainly not going to solve our problems, but [Prop 1] is an important start."

Voters will decide on Prop 1 on Nov. 4, 2014.

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