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Lt. Governor Candidate Wants New Direction For Transportation Funding

Chris Eudaily
TPR News
State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte in the TPR studios days after rallying support to successfully defeat the Senate abortion bill.

The Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor, San Antonio State Senator Leticia Van De Putte says the State of Texas must find a way to fund road construction in the coming year. Van De Putte laid out her campaign’s infrastructure platform which includes ending any diversions taken from the State’s Highway Fund.

According to the Legislative Budget Board, an estimated $1.3-billion dollars each year is diverted from the State’s Highway Fund to other state agencies. Under her campaign plan for roads and bridges, Van De Putte would end those diversions, except in cases where the money is going toward education.

Van De Putte said,  “Texans would be so angry if they knew that their motor fuels taxes that they pay that are supposed to go to highway funding are diverted in the budget to fund other parts of the budget.”

Under her plan, the state would cease these diversions over a 6-year period. Van De Putte says she’d also call on the Legislature to appropriate more money going into the state’s Rainy Day Fund to pay for roads.

Van De Putte said, “The problem is that you’ve had no political will to use that. I mean 8.4-billion dollars low-interest sitting in a fund that was never intended to have more than 2-billion dollars.  Why wouldn’t we use some of that.”

Similar to a bill that passed in 2013 that allowed Bexar County to collect additional funding for roads through a vehicle registration program, Van De Putte says her plan would provide all communities this option. The Texas Department of Transportation ahead of the 2015 legislative session told lawmakers it will need an estimated 20-billion dollars over a 2-year period to maintain roads and bridges throughout the state.