Special Session
5:05 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Transportation Funding Passes One Hurdle In Senate

Senate Joint Resolution 2, which was authored by Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, would continually transfer $1.8 billion to transportation once the Rainy Day Fund grew to $6 billion.

Some in the Senate, like Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, who has seen a decade of being told "no," say the use of the Rainy Day Fund is finally somewhat defined.

"If we wanted to use it to mitigate hurricanes we were told, 'Oh, no you can’t, we got wait for really economic bad times. When we wanted to use it for economic bad times we were told, 'Oh no, we got to wait for a natural disaster that’s what it’s used for,' so I want to say thank you because at least there is some clarity in this," Van de Putte said.

Van de Putte said she is happy the bill leaves $6 billion to help the state fund other needs like the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, which is in need of reform.

Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, said the bill is a step in the right direction, but is misleading for voters.

"If the voter approve it, as politicians we don't need to run around thumping our chests that we fixed the transportation problem, because this is just about 20 percent of the problem. We need to be realistic with the voters and the taxpayers of this state and tell them it's going to take more money in the form of new revenue to fix this problem," Eltife said.

According to a recent transportation study it would take $4 billion a year to just maintain current congestion.

The bill passed on a second reading and still has one more vote before being sent to the House. If the bill passes, it would be up for voters to have the final say in the November elections.