Funding Supporters

The following groups sent a letter to lawmakers on May 22 urging them to support a constitutionally dedicated funding source for Texas highways. The letter appears at the bottom of this page.


Texas Municipal League
Transportation Advocates of Texas
Move Texas Forward
Texas Infrastructure Now
Alliance for I-69 Texas
Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Transportation Advocacy Group – Houston
Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition
Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition
San Antonio Mobility Coalition
Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership
Midland-Odessa Transportation Alliance

Texas Association of Business
Texas Association of Builders
Texas Association of Manufacturers
Texas Association of REALTORS
Texas Retailers Association
Texas Oil & Gas Association
Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association
Texas Food and Fuel Association
Texas Trucking Association
Texas Travel Industry Association
Texas Transportation Alliance
Southwest Movers Association
AGC of Texas Highway, Heavy and Utilities
American Council of Engineering Companies of Texas
Texas Business Leadership Council
The Real Estate Councils of Texas
Highway 36A Coalition
Greater 288 Partnership
Texas Good Roads Association
Austin-San Antonio Corridor Council
Austin Chamber of Commerce
Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce
Dallas Regional Chamber
Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce
Greater Houston Partnership
Lubbock Chamber of Commerce
North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
Houstonians for Responsible Growth
Dallas Citizens Council
NAIOP-North Texas
I-14/U.S. 190 Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition
Bexar County
Tarrant County
City of Fort Worth
City of Corpus Christi
City of Nacogdoches
City of San Antonio
HoltCat

 

Lieutenant Governor’s Advisory Board for Transportation
Ned Holmes, Chairman
Bob Albritton
Steve Alvis
Arch “Beaver” Aplin
Pamela Bailey-Campbell
Carter Pate
Brenda Pejovich
Jere Thompson, Jr.
John Weisman

Funding Proposal Coming to Final Vote

 

May 26, 2015

 

House and Senate negotiators have sealed a deal on a proposed constitutional amendment that, if voters approved it in 2016, would direct $2.5 billion more (and rising) to Texas highways, House Transportation Committee chair Joe Pickett told the Austin American-Statesman Tuesday.


Statesman Transportation Reporter Ben Wear reports that under terms agreed to in a House-Senate conference committee on Senate Joint Resolution 5, the Texas Department of Transportation would get $2.5 billion a year in state sales tax revenue beginning in the 2017-2018 budget year, provided that overall sales taxes exceed $28 billion. The comptroller expects that overall sales tax will be almost $29.7 billion two years earlier, in the 2015-16 fiscal year.


That overall sales tax trigger and the $2.5 billion annual allocation to roads would continue in effect for 15 years, Pickett said. The House and Senate, through a simple majority vote in each chamber, could extend it 10 years at a time, he said. The exact language of the proposal to be voted on by the House and Senate, includng 2016 ballot language, is being drafted.


The proposed deal also has a growth mechanism based specifically on revenue from the state sale tax on vehicle sales, Pickett said. That extra revenue, which would begin in the 2019-20 fiscal year, would give TxDOT 35 percent of any vehicle sales tax revenue above $5 billion in a given year.


By 2019-20, Pickett said, that could mean at least an additional $250 million for TxDOT, and that figure likely would grow.


The proposed deal has what Pickett referred to as a “hell in a hand basket” provision, one that would allow the Legislature to lower what TxDOT gets from sales taxes (either the $2.5 billion or the vehicle sales tax growth money) by 50 percent when overall tax revenues are down and the money is needed for other state programs. That escape valve, Pickett said, would require a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.


The House and Senate, with the session ending Monday, have only a few days to approve the compromise version of SJR 5. Proposed constitutional amendments require a two-thirds vote in each chamber for passage, and do not go to the governor for a signature.


“It’ll be fine,” Pickett said of the waning legislative clock. “We have enough time.”

 

He told the El Paso Times, "It's a good compromise."

 

Sen. Robert Nichols, Senate Transportation Committee chair, confirmed that a compromise had been reached and would be presented to the Senate soon.

 

Last week, a broad coalition of transportation advocacy and business groups including the Transportation Advocates of Texas, the Texas Municipal League, Texas Association of Business, the Texas Retailers Association and the Texas Oil and Gas Association sent lawmakers a letter urging them to come to a deal before the session ends on Monday.

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“We need a dedicated revenue flow to handle traffic growth and to keep people and business moving effectively and efficiently,” the letter read. “The state’s strong business climate and economic prosperity will become threatened if our transportation system falls further behind.”

 

May 22nd TAoT LETTER:

 

Dear Texas Legislature:


At the start of the 84th Legislative Session trade associations, chambers of commerce, local
governments and business leaders came together to encourage you to pass legislation that
would constitutionally dedicate revenue necessary to fund Texas highways and bridges. Backed
by the strong support from 80% of Texans who overwhelmingly passed Proposition 1 in 2014,
leadership made transportation funding a top priority for the session. Gov. Greg Abbott declared
transportation funding an emergency item and called for an additional $4 billion a year to build
roads in Texas without increasing taxes, fees, tolls or debt. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker Joe
Straus have both talked about the importance of long term funding for transportation.


With nearly unanimous approval, both the House and Senate passed their respective versions
of SJR 5, putting us one step closer to addressing Texas’ transportation funding challenges.
Unfortunately, with just over a week left in the 84th Legislative Session transportation funding
remains an issue that has not been solved for Texans. We urge the Legislature to take that final
step by coming to an agreement on SJR 5 and ensuring that Texas avoids a transportationfunding
crisis.


The state’s strong business climate and economic prosperity will become threatened if we
cannot efficiently move people and goods. Building and maintaining roads is a fundamental
responsibility and a core function of government. Texans expect to have safe, reliable highways
and the state needs predictable, long-term sources of revenue to accomplish this.


We must have a steady and predictable source of revenue to build new projects and repair
our roads. The passage of SJR 5 provides Texans that steady and predictable source by
constitutionally dedicating revenue to transportation. In anticipation of a long term funding
source, the initial House and Senate budgets both included more than $1 billion in general
revenue for the Texas Department of Transportation. Passing long-term funding has become
even more critical with the recent removal of that $1 billion in general revenue from TxDOT’s
budget for the next biennium.


The Texas Legislature has an opportunity to address a top priority for the state by passing a
significant transportation funding measure, putting the state in a strong position to continue the
“Texas miracle” by making wise investments in job-creating infrastructure. Not acting will hurt
Texas citizens, businesses and communities.


Again, on behalf of the following organizations, we strongly encourage you to pass SJR 5 and
give voters the ability to approve constitutionally dedicated revenue necessary to fund Texas
highways and bridges. Texans sent a message that they want more transportation funding and
they expect the legislature to deliver on that responsibility.