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Author Topic: Texas legislature impact on TxDOT  (Read 1153 times)


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Texas legislature impact on TxDOT
« on: May 28, 2017, 05:11:11 PM »

This year's session will complete tomorrow. (The Texas legislature meets in odd-numbered years only.) This session was not expected to have much impact on TxDOT, but the main issue of concern was if the legislature would fully fund proposition 7, the transfer of general funds to TxDOT.

TxDOT was up for reauthorization this year, the so-called sunset process. This bill had to pass, and it became a vehicle for transportation legislation which could not proceed as standalone bills.

There was a procedural meltdown earlier this month which killed a large number of bills. I don't know if TxDOT-related bills were affected, but it appears some issues were added as amendments to the TxDOT reauthorization. Here is the conference committee report http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/scanned/85ccrs/sb0312.pdf#navpanes=0

Funding: TxDOT was due around $4.7 billion in proposition 7 funding funding over two years, and only $2.9 billion was allocated in the next fiscal cycle, with the missing $1.8 billion being used to close a budget gap. However, the missing $1.8 billion was delayed by only one month to push it into the next budget cycle, so this is not expected to have any impact on project funding and progress. However, it is unclear if if TxDOT will get that $1.8 billion during the lifespan of proposition 7, or if the money is permanently lost. According to a report in the Dallas Morning News, legislators say they are committed to delivering the money as soon as budget conditions allow.

Anti-toll legislation: Many anti-toll bills were filed, and it appears that all died and most made minimal or negligible progress. However, the conference committee report had some token anti-toll provisions.

Public-Private Partnerships (called comprehensive development agreements in Texas): There was a bill authorizing around a dozen new PPPs around the state, including 635 east in Dallas which was a high priority for North Texas planners. The bill was rejected by the House earlier this month, and I don't see any evidence that new PPPs were authorized. Here is the list of proposed projects in the bill that failed http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/analysis/pdf/HB02861H.pdf#navpanes=0

Conference Report Highlights
* (p  33) Removes tolls from State Highway 255 in Laredo. This is the former Camino-Columbia toll road that went bankrupt and was later bought by TxDOT and operated as a toll road. It generates about $2 million per year in tolls.
* (p 33-34)  El Paso.: Appears to authorize the removal of tolls on the tolled manged lanes on the southeast section of Loop 375, from downtown to Interstate 10.
* (p 16) Requires that TxDOT funds used in toll roads must be repaid. This appears to not be retroactive.
* Imposes a large number of reporting and administrative requirements on TxDOT relating to project cost, schedule, coordination with MPOs
* Requires TxDOT contractors to use E-Verify
« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 06:45:02 PM by MaxConcrete »


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