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Lawmakers Wrap Third Special Session With Transportation Bill

Chris Eudaily
TPR News

The final transportation bill will provide the Texas Department of Transportation with $1.2 billion per year in road funding from the Rainy Day Fund.

The speaker of the House and the lieutenant governor will appoint a ten-person committee each legislative session -- five members each of the House and Senate -- which will determine a sufficient balance in the Rainy Day Fund before money can be transferred into the State Highway Fund.

The Rainy Day Fund minimum will then have to be approved by the full House and Senate on a simple majority vote.

The bill requires TxDOT to implement $100 million in cuts to help pay down their past debt, for which they are still liable.

The transportation money will be evenly distributed between rural and city road projects and also includes allocation for sea port projects needed to accommodate an expected influx in sea traffic related to the dredging of the Panama Canal.

The bill still has to be approved by voters in November of 2014 before it can take effect.

"It’s now up to us to educate everybody between now and next year and actually that’s probably a good thing to let them know what to expect and what this means," said the bill's author, Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso.