A struggling transportation bill during a third special session is losing more and more support, including that of Joe Straus, Texas’ Speaker of the House.
Less than a day into the summer’s third special session, the Texas Senate gave its approval to a transportation bill that failed to pass during a regular session and two consecutive special sessions. But that bill faces an uphill climb in the Texas House, including how the bill is viewed by Straus.
Straus said, “I don’t think you can keep pushing uphill the same bill that was losing support ... as the summer wore on."
He continued, “I think as we got further into the summer this whole thing became less about transportation and more about other state financial issues and the Rainy Day Fund and so forth."
In a written statement, Straus called the bill a “Band-Aid over a pothole” and questioned the information put forth by the Texas Department of Transportation on how much the agency needs to build and maintain Texas roadways.
Straus said, “Transportation in a growing state like ours will continue to be a challenge. We won’t find one solution that [solves the problem]. In fact I’m not convinced that TxDOT knows what they need."
He went on to say, “At the beginning of the session they told me that somewhere around $3-billion more was necessary and now I pick up the newspaper and they say $5-billion. Now I know we’ve been here seven months, but it’s not that long."
Straus says this clearly is not an issue that Governor Rick Perry is willing to take a step back from for a more comprehensive view on what Texas’ transportation system truly needs. If the bill passes the House it will provide roughly $1.8 billion dollars over a two year period.