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Study alternative financing of the state's highway system.
Texas is 48th per capita on what it spends on state highways.
At present state tax rates, Texas is able to fund less than 40
percent of the systems' needs.
Study ways to establish a dedicated funding source for general
aviation development needs.
Although the Texas airport system is the largest state system
in the nation, there are significant problems with the condition
of many general aviation airports. Limited resources for these
facilities will jeopardize the function of the state airport system
without additional funding. Several attempts have been made in
the past to obtain dedicated funding with no success.
Study the effect of "Schmidt Factors" and "Westgate
Laws" on right-of-way acquisitions and public work projects.
Both Schmidt Factors and Westgate Laws arose out of court cases
regarding condemnation of property for right-of-way acquisition.
In both instances, the Texas Supreme Court held that the interests
were noncompensable. The Texas Department of Transportation estimates
that allowing compensation for these factors could increase right-of-way
costs by as much as $40 million annually.
Study the effect of heavy trucks on highways and county roads,
including a look at current laws and the ratio between consumptive
use of the system and fees paid by the users.
H.B. 2060, 71st Legislature, Regular Session, essentially allows
a vehicle of up to 84,000 pounds, which obtains a state permit,
to travel on any road in the state except interstates, no matter
what the road's capacity. The 74th Legislature added a tiered
fee structure for counties in which these trucks travel, but the
total revenue generated from fees currently covers only a small
portion of the actual damage caused by these trucks.