Texas is facing a transportation crisis.By this time next year, the state will have exhausted its funds for new roads, with only enough to maintain the highways we have, and we'll soon run short of money to do even that.Major funding sources for highway development -- the gas tax and vehicle registration fees -- can no longer keep pace with our transportation needs.The challenge is compounded by a couple of things. First is growth: some 1,200 people are moving to Texas every day. Second is aging infrastructure. Our roads are not only used by more people, they also are used more frequently. This has led to deterioration at an alarming rate. The Texas Society of Civil Engineers confirmed this trend in its most recent report card, giving Texas infrastructure an unacceptable and unsustainable grade of C-.The American Society of Civil Engineers predicts the amount of time we currently spend stuck in traffic will triple by 2020 without adequate investment in infrastructure.Highway funding has been covered primarily by the gas tax. However, this tax doesn't go as far as it once did, even if it weren't diverted to other priorities, which has been the case for years in Texas. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the gas tax buys only about half the construction materials it did 20 years ago.To keep pace with population growth and upgrade existing highways, Texas must explore creative ways of funding its roads.In recent years, the Legislature has authorized the Texas Department of Transportation to partner with the private sector to meet the state's most pressing infrastructure needs. Thanks to those public-private agreements, Texas has become a model state for infrastructure finance. Public-private partnerships offer the opportunity to create real, innovative and sustainable transportation infrastructure solutions, without raising taxes.Several privately-funded transportation projects in Texas are on track to unclog some of the most heavily congested stretches of roadway in the state, while employing more than 400 Texas firms during construction.These partnerships are part of the solution to getting us where we need to be -- further down the road toward effective solutions to today's transportation challenges. They also can jump-start economic growth, not only by creating jobs, but by delivering faster, more efficient transportation systems to connect Texans and build our communities.The state also is considering turning to public-private partnerships to handle routine repair and maintenance work on various roadways. These are projects Texas sorely needs and could not afford through tax revenues alone.Public-private partnerships can be used in other areas of the state to address bottlenecks and aging highways and prepare for more growth. When the Legislature begins its session in January, we will urge lawmakers to continue to unleash the power of the private sector and put it to work for Texans.At the same time, we will call on legislators to pass a modest increase of $50 in the vehicle registration fee. While no one likes new fees, the cost of doing nothing is far higher.A recent report from a national transportation research organization, TRIP, found that traffic congestion, damage to trucks and cars from bad roads and accidents resulting from poor roadway safety features cost $2,000 a year for every Texas motorist.Addressing funding highway needs must be a legislative priority because the road does not go on forever, and Texas' infrastructure needs cannot wait.Bill Hammond is president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business.