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Legislature Fumbles Highway Bill

Legislature Fumbles Highway Bill

  The Texas House Monday night rejected that compromise proposal designed to add nearly $1 billion a year to the state's road building fund, as Governor Rick Perry openly clashed with House Republicans over spending priorities, 1200 WOAI news reports.
  84 House Republicans voted in favor of the compromise proposal to transfer nearly $1 billion per year from the state's oil and gas royalties to the Texas Department of Transportation to use to build and maintain roads, but, as expected, Tea Party Republicans rejected the idea of diverting funds from the state's Rainy Day Fund.  
  Since the proposal is a Constitutional Amendment, a two thirds majority, or 100 votes, was needed to approve the bill.
  "Members have become increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of diverting and indefinitely dedicating funds away from the Rainy Day fund to roads," House Speaker Joe Straus said.  "These funds were never intended to be a stable, long term way to address our transportation needs.  Diverting a capped amount of money from the Rainy Day fund to repair roads is much like using a Band-Aid to cover a pothole…in the end, you still have a pothole, and you have spent a lot of money without solving the fundamental problem.
  Perry stopped short of calling for a third special session when the current session ends on Tuesday, but he accused House Republicans of 'abdicating their basic responsibilities.'
  "This was an opportunity to utilize hundreds of millions of dollars in existing revenue to move forward on numerous projects across our state and begin dealing with the effects of our economic growth," Perry said.  "Just as importantly, provide much needed relief to working Texans everywhere who spend hours in traffic every day."
  The Legislature will try again on Tuesday to approve the compromise, but that now appears unlikely.  
  Perry has set transportation funding as a priority.
  "Legislators have been in Austin for nearly seven months now, and to go home without dealing with one of the most pressing issues facing all Texans is simply unacceptable," Perry said.
 


 

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