Texas Considers Use of Rainy Day Funds For Transportation

The Texas legislature is considering legislation that would authorize the use of Rainy Day Funds for needed transportation projects.  House and Senate members recently reach agreement on the key pieces of the measure, which, if passed, would be a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November 2014.  As reported by The News and Observer through Better Roads:

Republican Sen. Robert Nichols, the author of the measure, said negotiators from the House and Senate had agreed to divert revenue from the Rainy Day Fund and only needed to fix a few details about how to maintain a minimum balance in it. Ultimately the Legislative Budget Board would determine what that balance should be and have authority to cut off funding for transportation if more money is needed for the fund.

Experts say Texas needs an additional $4 billion in the state budget to maintain the current road network, but the Republican majority refuses to consider raising taxes. Instead they have proposed taking an estimated $848 million in oil and gas taxes that would normally flow into the Rainy Day Fund to help pay for transportation. Nichols said the money would only be spent on non-toll roads and bridges and could not be spent to pay off debt.