Highway Funding Measure Heads to Texas Voters
AUSTIN, TX Texas voters will get an opportunity this fall to constitutionally dedicate $2.5 billion a year for highways and bridges following a 142-1 vote by the Texas House of Representatives.
The measure (SJR5) passed unanimously passed in the Senate and the 84th Texas Legislative Session, which ended June 1st.
Texas legislators now understand the importance of transportation and they realize their constituents want them to do what it takes to build better and safer roads.
The best way to assess successes and failures of a legislative session is to measure the progress made from January to June. Here's where it stands:
$1.2 billion a year for the state highway fund from Prop 1
$2.5 billion a year dedicated for roads from the general sales tax. This requires voter approval on the November 3rd election ballot. The funding will be available for legislators to appropriate starting in the 2017 legislative session
An estimated $650 million a year for highway spending that normally got "diverted" from the state highway fund to help pay for DPS
35 percent of the motor vehicle sales tax revenue above a $5 billion threshold. This provision is intended to provide future growth/investments in highway funding and will start in 2020. Motor vehicle tax revenue currently generates a little over $4.5 billion and should hit the $5 billion threshold long before 2020. This provision will provide $350 million for the highway fund for every $1 billion in motor vehicle sales tax revenue (above the $5 billion threshold).
Add up these numbers and you can see huge progress in the past year, roughly $4.4 billion a year. That number will climb once the motor vehicle sales tax revenue starts flowing.
This highway funding package, including Prop 1, is the single largest transportation funding effort in the history of any state.