Senator Seliger Proposes Transportation Solutions for the Permian Basin
Austin — Today State Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) filed Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 65, a constitutional amendment that creates a funding stream for transportation needs resulting from increased traffic in oil and gas producing areas of the state.
Senator Seliger stated, "The residents of the Permian Basin have seen a tremendous boom in business and population, with more still to come. I want to ensure that our infrastructure keeps pace with this increased productivity, and that the state makes its obligation to counties a priority."
SJR 65 creates a long term, predictable revenue stream to address local transportation issues by directing the Comptroller to allocate three percent of oil and gas severance tax revenue towards the Transportation Infrastructure Fund. That figure is estimated to be $162 million in the upcoming 2014-2015 biennium.
SJR 65 works in conjunction with legislation Senator Seliger recently coauthored with Senator Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio). Senate Bill 1747 addresses the serious concerns of residents in oil and gas producing counties and will serve as an important foundation to address transportation needs in the Permian Basin for years to come. The bill creates the Transportation Infrastructure Fund, which would provide grants to counties with significant roadway needs, establishing a practical approach for distributing funds to counties specifically impacted by recent increased wear and tear.
It takes approximately 1,200 loaded trucks to bring a new well into operation, and an additional 350 per year to keep one working. The Texas Department of Transportation equates this activity to roughly 8 million cars, plus the equivalent of an additional 2 million cars per year, to maintain an oil rig.
According to the US Census Bureau, between 2010 and 2012 the Permian Basin grew in population by over 30,000, and roadways are struggling to meet the increased demands of both citizens and industry.
SJR 65 does not raise any new taxes or fees. It returns an appropriate amount of tax revenue to the source of its collection and addresses the specific impact oil and gas activity has on counties where production occurs. If passed by the Legislature, this measure would be brought before the citizens of Texas for a vote in November 2013.