Transportation funding passes third special session

News / Transportation funding passes third special session

By Matt Schaefer
Tuesday, August 06, 2013

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TEXAS (KETK) — After failing to come to an agreement during two special sessions and one regular session, Ia dedcision was reached Monday night on how to pay for repairing our Texas roads. District 6 State Representative, Matt Schaefer says, “Voters are going to have a chance to approve diverting some of the oil and gas tax revenue away from the rainy day fund and towards roads.”

Currently about 75% of tax revenue from oil and gas is earmarked for the Rainy Day fund, or as Schaefer calls it the “Texas savings account.”

During the November 2014 election voters will have a chance to pass a constitutional amendment to the Texas constitution in order to give lawmakers the ability to do manipulate the rainy day fund and, as Schaefer explains, the “over flow” into the fund will go to toward the debt owed to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Schaefer says, “What we’ve done now is we’ve given the legislature the ability to turn the dial to say ‘what’s a healthy amount in the rainy day fund?’ and if it gets to that amount then we can spill over into roads.” Schaefer says this is a step in the right direction, yet it’s not a long term solution.

In a phone interview with District 1 Senator, Kevin Eltife, says this is a short term fix because Texas is indebted to TxDOT to the tune of 4 billion dollars, and Eltife says, this plan would only cover a funding portion of that debt, “This will solve about 20 percent of the problem, it is a step in the right direction, but we need to be clear this is not going to solve all of our transportation problems”

The plan also requires TxDOT to cut $100 million in spending and “efficiencies” during the 2014-15 year to do their part in decreasing future debt and spending.

BY: Nichole Vowell

POSTED: August 6, 2013

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