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Hidalgo County Commissioners Court unanimously approved a resolution in support of a constitutional amendment for increased state funding for transportation. The resolution was presented by Jesse Ozuna, Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Right of Way Agent, who requested support for the amendment and explained that, if passed, the amendment would allow funds for projects on state roads, highways and bridges.
The 83rd Texas Legislature passed legislation proposing a constitutional amendment on the November 4, 2014 state ballot. This is a constitutional amendment to provide for the transfer of certain general revenue to the economic stabilization fund and to the state highway fund and for the dedication of the revenue transferred to the state highway fund, Ozuna said. The proposal will allow the transferred revenue to be used only for developing public roadways, other than toll roads.
The state transportation funding over the past several years has been supplemented by bond programs and those bond programs are now exhausted and have resulted in a significant level of debt for Texas. The current state budget includes approximately $5 billion per year in construction funding and will, based on current revenue projections, drop to only $2.5 billion the available funds for construction for the next biennium.
According to the latest report of the 2030 Commission, approximately $6.1 billion per year in construction funding is needed to achieve “worst possible” conditions and $9.5 billion per year is needed to achieve “minimally competitive” conditions. The proposed amendment would result in an estimated $1.4 billion per year for the state highway fund.
The proposed amendment will not fully fund the state’s overall transportation needs, but is considered a key step toward securing critical funding for transportation projects in Texas.