The Future of Texas’ Aging Infrastructure

Holsen Moore, Staff Writer

Driving through Los Fresnos, at the intersection of Highway 100 and FM 1847, drivers have faced long waits at the stoplight, and businesses have lost out on thousands of dollars of crucial revenue. 

Highway 100 has been under construction in the heart of Los Fresnos for months, and is projected to be completed by November of this year. 

“It’s annoying,” Senior Faith Perez said. “I have to go down other streets every morning if I want to make it to school on time.”

Despite the annoyances and economic disadvantages that construction brings to the town, the construction was badly needed. The road had been paved over seven times and was bulging in the middle, causing damage to some vehicles. Not only that, but the sidewalks failed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Los Fresnos might be a small town, but its population has ballooned 20% in the last two decades, and the town and outlying communities are projected to continue growing. And at a vital location between Expressway 77 and South Padre Island, improved transportation infrastructure will be a boon to the community. 

Los Fresnos is only a small part of a fast-growing region in an even faster-growing state. Texas gained the most people out of any state in the U.S. from July 2020 to July 2021. Despite this, the state’s infrastructure as a whole is lacking. 

South Texas is expected to come into more than two billion dollars in the next ten years to fund its transportation infrastructure, a 270% increase in 2015’s expected 596 million. But the amount of funds allocated to build roads overshadows a more insidious problem with Texas infrastructure. 

Despite power plants priding themselves on the progress of their weatherization efforts, the state’s natural gas pipelines still fall short of expectations. Oil and natural gas do not even operate under set weatherization guidelines, meaning the Texas power grid is still vulnerable to extreme weather events. 

The state’s water infrastructure is also struggling. As homes lost power last February, hundreds of thousands of households lost access to clean drinking water. Much of the state’s water sources are contaminated, causing Texas to have the greatest number of water quality violations of any state in the U.S. Increased rainfall has the potential to draw wastewater, which include industrial contaminants and fecal bacteria, into the state’s natural bodies of water. 

The population of Texas is expected to double by 2050 while the state’s infrastructure as a whole continues to age. Population and economic growth will be great for Los Fresnos, the Valley, and Texas, but they cannot reasonably happen if the infrastructure is not there to support them. Construction projects such as the ones happening on Highway 100 are not enough to support the massive influx of people and capital into Texas.