Lawmaker Finds Last-Minute State Funding Mechanism For Roads
At this point in the legislative calendar many bills are facing a looming demise, but Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, said he has found another way to get money for transportation needs.
"One of the obvious ways is to take some money in the budget and devote it to our energy related zones that have borne the burden of most of the oil and gas production. They are just simply deteriorating and they’re not safe anymore," Darby said.
Darby is talking about the Eagle Ford Shale and Burnet Shale areas that have been subject to heavy truckloads of water being used in hydraulic fracking expeditions .
He is proposing to gut a pre-existing house budget bill to send $500 million to the state transportation fund.
Another alternative funding measure of Darby’s is to end fund diversions, where revenue generated on items like the gas tax and vehicle registrations is diverted to unrelated areas like education and health programs.
"I had a contingency revenue rider associated with my [House Bill] 3664, which is the registration fee. I’m still trying to get that money allocated to end the diversions," Darby said.
Transportation fund diversions in Texas currently go to the Department of Public Safety and Department of Motor Vehicles, which add up to about $600 million a year.
He plans to add this bill as an attachment to the senate budget bill, Senate Bill 1.