Studies in Applied Geography and Spatial Analysis
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Studies in Applied Geography and Spatial Analysis

Addressing Real World Issues

Edited by Robert Stimson and Kingsley E. Haynes

This timely and fascinating book illustrates how applied geography can contribute in a multitude of ways to assist policy processes, evaluate public programs, enhance business decisions, and contribute to formulating solutions for community-level problems.
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Chapter 15: Using input–output analysis and GIS to assess economic, fiscal and developmental impacts of toll roads in Dallas: a 40-year perspective

Bernard L. Weinstein and Terry L. Clower


The financing of highways in the United States (US) has become a challenge for states and localities as revenue from the federal highway trust fund has grown more slowly than the costs of construction. At the same time, a sizeable portion of the trust fund’s revenues are being diverted to subsidize public transit. In the face of these fiscal realities, states and cities have been turning to toll roads to cope with the growing demand for lane miles. Toll roads have been especially prominent in the fast-growing Dallas– Fort Worth (Texas) metropolitan region. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) in 2006, the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas was commissioned by the authority to conduct a US$30 000 study demonstrating that tollroads were not only facilitating regional mobility but also helping to drive the economy of the Dallas region. The study was also prepared to assist the NTTA in garnering community and media support for a large bond issue that would be used to fund future road projects. This chapter draws on the findings of that client report. The greater Dallas–Fort Worth (DFW) metropolitan area, with a population of more than 6 million, is currently the fourth-largest urban region in the US. Between 1990 and 2009, the DFW Metroplex grew by almost 62 percent, making it the second fastest-growing major metropolitan area in the US. Projections by the US Department of Commerce, as well as the North Central Texas Council of Governments, foresee population continuing to grow at about 3 percent annually for the next 30 years, reaching about 15 million by 2040.

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