ROAD/BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION: Funding solution fails in Texas House

Measure that would generate nearly $840 million a year in new funds rejected; another vote planned

July 30, 2013

A solution involving Texas’ Rainy Day Fund quickly dried up in the state House July 29.

A transportation-funding plan that would generate more than $840 million a year called for a constitutional amendment in order to divert money from the state’s cash reserves generated by oil and gas taxes to the highway account. The House needed a two-thirds majority to pass the measure, and fell 16 short. Texas Gov. Rick Perry will likely force lawmakers into a third 30-day special session in order to come up with a solution for the region’s roads and bridges, which will need an extra $4 billion in work to maintain current conditions.

“It is disappointing that some members of the House needlessly delayed our state’s ability to deal with the added strain our increasing population and surging economy are placing on our roads and highways,” Perry said in a statement.

Some House Republicans rejected the plan because it messed with the Rainy Day Fund, while House Dems voided it because the measure established a floor of $6 billion. Once the fund would dip below the limit the flow of cash would cease.

At least 26 lawmakers were absent when the vote took place in the House, and many thought a second vote scheduled for July 30 would produce the same results.