Texas Lawmakers Get Another Chance To Pass Transportation Funding Bill

A Senate committee in Austin has approved the transportation funding bill that didn't make it to the floor during the first special session.

The bill won committee approval during that special session, but it didn't come up for a final vote in the Senate. That was because of Senator Wendy Davis' abortion filibuster on the last day.  

Lawmakers are now taking up the issue in the second special session. 

If voters approve, the proposed constitutional amendment would help fund transportation by diverting about $900 million a year in oil and gas tax revenues.  That money currently goes into the state's rainy day fund. 

But TxDOT says what it really needs is an extra $4 billion a year.

Rice University Political Science Chair Mark Jones says the measure under consideration would address some of the state's mobility needs but he doesn't expect it would go that far. 

"There are going to be a few new projects but for the most part the $900 million will allow TxDOT to maintain the current roads, as well as start some specific projects.  But it won't allow it to really engage in the widespread and wide-scale construction that it needs."

Jones says to fund transportation in the future, lawmakers will have to consider raising the gas tax and vehicle registration fees. 

"This is something that when the legislature comes back in January of 2015 they will have to address, otherwise the congestion is only going to get worse."

Unlike last time around, Jones expects lawmakers will act quickly on the bill. He predicts they'll will approve the measure sometime in the next couple of weeks. 

Bio photo of Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

Gail Delaughter joined KUHF in October 2008 as Saturday morning news anchor and host. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Gail has extensive experience in Texas and Louisiana as a radio news reporter and morning show anchor and co-host...