July 15, 2013 — Austin
Today, the Texas REALTORS® announced its support for HJR 2 and HB 16, two transportation proposals that have emerged during the second special session of the Texas Legislature, authored by Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso) and scheduled to be taken up by the full House of Representatives today.
HJR 2 would seek voter approval to dedicate motor fuel tax revenue ($1.8 billion per biennium) to acquiring rights-of-way and constructing and maintaining public roadways. Under current law, that money is diverted to partially fund public education. Under the provisions in HJR 2, public education would receive a similar amount from the state’s general revenue. HB 16 would dedicate one-third of all revenue from certain fuel-related taxes and the motor vehicle sales, use, and rental tax (above a baseline amount determined by the Legislature) to the State Highway Fund.
“Texas REALTORS® recognize that a reliable and efficient transportation network is key to our state’s continued economic success,” said Shad Bogany, 2013 chairman of the Texas REALTORS®. “HJR 2 and HB 16 represent great steps in that direction. Also, we support truth in taxation, so ending diversions is a legislative priority for us.”
Earlier this year, the Texas REALTORS® was part of a broad-based business coalition that brought forward a five-point transportation funding solution that would have generated close to $4 billion per year for transportation. Officials at the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) have said the agency requires that amount merely to prevent congestion from worsening, due to population growth in Texas and an underperforming gas tax. TxDOT has also exhausted almost all of its bonding authority and, by 2015, will have no money available for new roads.
Bogany continued, “The state is at a critical point. We must invest in our transportation infrastructure now to ensure the efficient movement of people and goods across Texas. These bills present the best opportunity to do that right now.”