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Business Leaders Pushing For Transportation Bill Passage

Chris Eudaily
TPR News

Pro-business groups are hoping to persuade House lawmakers to approve a transportation bill that has now been up for debate four times.

The transportation bill working its way through the House this special session involves using money from the Rainy Day Fund and has seen a little bit of controversy in the 83rd Legislature, but was still projected to pass during the first special session.

It failed because of the filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, which effectively ran the clock out on the session.

It is those failed attempts that now has the Texas Association of Business’ Bill Hammond doing all he can to move the bill along.

"It’s absolutely critical from the perspective of the business community -- from the perspective of economic development -- to make this step forward this afternoon and take those funds and dedicate them to transportation to begin to meet our needs. Obviously it doesn’t meet all of our needs, but it is a step in the right direction," Hammond said.

Hammond said the bill is a tougher issue to pass than a water funding bill that passed during the regular session.

"Water had the drought going for it in a sense and I think the drought brought the issue to the forefront and helped pass the legislation," he said. "And roads face a more difficult task primarily because there is so much road construction today. You know, they call it 'cone fatigue.' People see all this construction and say, 'What’s the need.'"

Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Perez, who is also the chairman of the Metro-8, a group representing the needs of the eight largest cities in Texas, said the state’s population growth is estimated at a 1,000 people a day, which means more people traveling on Texas roads.

"It’s about mobility and it’s about investing in who we are and what we need to continue to be at the top of the economic development ladder. But we are losing roads every day as we wait and put off this important investment," Perez said.

This afternoon, House lawmakers will take up a transportation bill that has already passed the Senate if there is enough representatives present to vote on the issue.