House Bill 300, the TxDOT Sunset Bill, Signed and Ready for Final Vote
Landmark Reformation Bill, Trans-Texas Corridor Repealed
One of the biggest bills of this session, Senator Glenn Hegar and Representative Carl Isett's House Bill 300, the Texas Department of Transportation's Sunset Bill, is one step from going to the Governor's desk for final approval. The bill is a result of a painstaking top to bottom review of TxDOT that started almost two years ago, involved thousands of hours of work, and has great promise to restore TxDOT as the nation's preeminent highway department.
"I am very thankful for the tireless efforts of so many, Senators Nichols, Carona, Hinojosa, Watson, and Shapleigh and my House colleagues in particular, that have allowed me to bring this bill so close to final passage. It will do nothing short of truly bringing the Texas Department of Transportation into the 21st century. It is a bill that all Texans can be proud of. What the taxpayers of this great state want and deserve is for TxDOT to focus on building and maintaining roads: nothing more, nothing less," said Senator Hegar.
House Bill 300 represents a sea change in state transportation policy, instituting a system that will deliver an unprecedented level of responsiveness to the public, to local governments, and most importantly, to Texans. Fundamental changes contained in the bill include:
- The creation of a Transportation Legislative Oversight Committee to ensure the Legislature can provide continuous monitoring and instantly respond to all important issues, regardless of whether they occur during or outside of a legislative session.
- Delivery of a highly detailed and formula driven roadway construction and maintenance program with outlined 25, 10, and 4-year plans that must be developed in coordination with the state's 25 Metropolitan Planning Organizations, strengthening the voice of local communities.
- A newly created comprehensive online reference system (Dashboard) for quick and easy access to detailed up-to-the-minute information about the department's expenditures, operations, and plans.
- Fundamentally changes current law that has been abusive to landowners when a road is built through or by their property.
- Authorization of the issuance of $5 billion dollars in General Obligation Bonds to accelerate needed projects and help to ensure that congestion does not impede the state's future economic prosperity and growth.
- Institution of technological advancements to bring our Vehicle Titling and Registration system into the future and millions of additional dollars more for needed transportation projects.
- A complete and total repeal of the Trans-Texas Corridor.
With one stroke of a pen the Trans-Texas Corridor will be forever repealed, thus ending what has unquestionably been of the most controversial chapters in the history of transportation policy. While to many Texans that aspect of the bill will be the only one of importance, the bill goes far beyond that, making sweeping changes that promise to begin a new era of transparency, accountability, and openness, and not only a return to the department's core mission of building and maintaining our vast system of roadways, but truly bringing the department into the 21st century.
"TxDOT's Sunset bill that me and my colleagues have worked so tirelessly to make law will doing nothing short of changing the face of transportation policy in the great state of Texas. TxDOT will become the agency we all know it can and should be, one that is accountable to the taxpayers it serves and guided by a completely open and inclusive process that allows the diverse needs of the urban and rural areas of our state to be dealt with as those communities wish," said Senator Hegar.
Senator Hegar served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives and now represents Senate District 18 in the Texas Senate. He is a sixth generation Texan, and earns a living farming rice and corn on land that has been in his family since the mid 1800's. He currently resides in Katy, Texas with his wife Dara, and their three children, Claire, Julia, and Jonah.