Senate Votes to Keep Texas Moving
Constitutional amendment would direct needed dollars to Texas highways
On Thursday, July 11, 2013, the Texas Senate voted unanimously to deliver a powerful shot to the arm for Texas highways. Senate Joint Resolution 1 would dedicate hundreds of millions of dollars for the maintenance, expansion, and construction of state highways in Texas. As one of the country's fastest growing states, these critical dollars are sorely needed to ensure our state keeps pace with the demands of a rapidly expanding population.
"The excellent quality of life in Texas, where low taxes, quality jobs, and fair laws that preserve our constitutional rights are expected and enjoyed is no longer a secret. Nearly a thousand people move here every day, and that fast growth is not projected to slow anytime soon," said Senator Hegar. "While Senate Joint Resolution 1 is no silver bullet for the huge roadway needs necessary to foster that growth, it is a significant step in the right direction that will pay substantial dividends and will help Texas retain its position as one of the most desirable landing spots for families and businesses looking for a new home."
Senate Joint Resolution 1's contribution to the state highway fund would come from the rainy day fund, the state's account for oil and gas tax receipts received in excess of a specified level (triggered when production is high, as is the case now and for many years to come). Beginning in fiscal year 2015, and only in those years where the rainy day fund has a balance equaling one-third of its constitutionally mandated maximum, half of the funds that under current law flow to the rainy day fund would instead go to the state highway fund.
Projections currently calculate that the passage of Senate Joint Resolution 1 would direct nearly a billion dollars to the state highway fund in both 2015 and 2016. With oil and gas production projected to remain steady at its current high level and even increase, Senate Joint Resolution 1 promises to deliver billions to the highway fund without a penny of tax increases for either hardworking Texans or their employers.
Senator Hegar was among those who insisted that a provision be included so that none of these taxpayer dollars may be used for toll roads.
"The cost of maintaining and improving our transportation system is staggering, with estimates ranging into the hundreds of billions of dollars needed over the next twenty years. Clearly this infusion is not going to fully bridge the gap between current and needed investment, but it is a significant statement to Texans and to businesses searching for a home that the Lone Star State is committed to enhancing safety, combating congestion, and fostering the climate that makes our great state a place we are proud to call home," concluded Senator Hegar.
Senator Hegar served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives and now represents Senate District 18 in the Texas Senate. Senate District 18 contains all or part of twenty-one Counties and over one-third of the Texas coastline. He is a sixth generation Texan, and earns a living farming on land that has been in his family since the mid-1800s. He currently resides in Katy, Texas with his wife Dara, and their three children, Claire, Julia, and Jonah.