Legislators Reach Across The Aisle To Find Funds For Texas Roads
In a rare, bipartisan move, Democratic lawmakers and conservative business leaders from across the state are coming together in support of a state transportation funding measure up for voting this November.
Austin Democratic State Senator, Kirk Watson, says the measure is necessary. He believes the state’s business climate will suffer without the passage of Proposition 1, a move that will utilize a portion of the oil and gas tax revenue that feeds into the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund, known more commonly as the Texas Rainy Day Fund. Watson worries that voters could ignore the ballot measure, thinking that the legislature will find the necessary state funds in 2015.
“Don’t lose sight of the important part of passing Prop 1. If you are behind, this is an important key necessary first step. But I think, also, that we need to go into this legislative session looking to stop the diversion of money that could otherwise be used for transportation improvements,” said Watson.
Other business associations worry that voters may not even notice Proposition 1, because it is the last item on the November ballot. The joint resolution was passed in 2013 as an alternative source of funding. It is expected that Texas roads will glean an additional $1.7 billion each year to cover the annual $5 billion shortfall the Texas Department of Transportation is facing.