Press Release: House and Senate Pass Bills to Increase Transportation Funding

August 5, 2013

Senator Estes votes to increase transportation funding while protecting the Rainy Day Fund

Austin –Senator Estes today voted in favor of a legislative package that will increase transportation funding while ensuring a healthy balance remains in the Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund. Having finished their business, the legislature adjourned sine die.

On his vote Estes said, “It is the proper role of state government to finance transportation projects and it is critical to the future of our state that additional funding be secured. My vote today helped secure that funding and did so without a tax increase or adding to our debt. This is a commonsense conservative approach and a step in the right direction in easing traffic congestion across Texas.”

Senate Joint Resolution 1 provides that 50 percent of oil and gas severance tax revenues currently allocated to the Economic Stabilization Fund be allocated to the State Highway Fund for the construction and maintenance of roads. If approved by the voters, it is estimated to increase transportation funding by $878 million in fiscal year 2015, while leaving a balance of more than $7 billion in the Rainy Day Fund. Transfers to the State Highway Fund as a result of SJR 1 cannot be used to finance toll roads, or to pay for old or new transportation-related debt.

House Bill 1 requires a safe balance be set for the Economic Stabilization Fund, which the legislature must approve or amend before the 45th day of each regular legislative session. If a safe balance is not set, approved by the legislature, and reached then the bill prohibits the allocation of the oil and gas severance tax revenue to the State Highway Fund.

Explaining further Estes said, “It is absolutely critical to the future of Texas that we find additional funds for transportation. Over the last decade our great state has experienced tremendous population and economic growth, and our infrastructure needs to keep pace in order for the next ten years to be as prosperous as the last ten.”