This was going to be the session when legislators began weaning the Texas Department of Transportation off its decade-long reliance on debt and found a substantial and sustainable source of money to build and repair roads.
Gov. Rick Perry called for taking $3.7 billion from the state’s $12 billion rainy day fund and putting it into water and transportation projects — he didn’t say how much for each. Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director Phil Wilson said that, to do the job right, he needs an additional $4 billion a year and $1.6 billion for oil country roads under stress from heavy trucks in the current shale oil boom.
The story you're reading is premium content from the Austin American-Statesman. Subscribers get total access to all our in-depth news, digital editions and exclusive premium content. You can now also buy a 24-hour digital pass or 7-day digital pass.
For Subscribers: Sign in here if you have already registered your account.Sign In
For Subscribers: Register your account for digital access.Access Digital
Read MyStatesman.com now — 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24-hours
Read MyStatesman.com all week — 7-day digital pass$3.99 for 7-days
Subscribe to the Statesman for as little as 33¢ per dayView Offers
Raising road money
Some of the proposals before the Legislature:
- Take up to $1.7 billion from the state rainy day fund and create a “transportation infrastructure fund.”
- Shift some of the $3.3 billion-a-year vehicle sales tax from the state’s general fund to highway spending.
- Increase the annual vehicle registration fee by as much as $60.
- Reallocate all or much of $1.5 billion in gas tax revenue from the Texas Department of Public Safety and other state needs to TxDOT.
- End, with voter approval, the allocation of 25 percent of gas tax revenue to K-12 education.