"One of the most frustrating practices I have witnessed since serving in the Legislature is the diversion of gas tax revenue..."
Make Transportation Funding a Priority
By State Rep. Ken Paxton
AUSTIN, Texas – The Legislature’s top priority for this legislative session is to pass a balanced state budget for the next biennium. My top priority for this session is to do so without creating new taxes or passing any increases in existing taxes. In order to achieve this goal, the Legislature must prioritize its spending and focus on essential state services, such as transportation.
One of the most frustrating practices I have witnessed since serving in the Legislature is the diversion of gas tax revenue to fund non-transportation related expenditures. Therefore, I have introduced House Bill 815 to limit the permissible uses of the State Highway Fund and to dedicate additional revenues to the Fund in order that we may better address our State’s transportation needs.
I have also introduced H.J.R. 75, which proposes a constitutional amendment to limit the permissible uses of the State Highway Fund to prohibit future legislatures from diverting more revenue from this Fund for use on non-transportation related expenses.
Currently, the first 25% of our State’s gas tax revenue is constitutionally mandated to go to the available school fund. However, of the remaining 75%, approximately $1.5 billion in revenue is appropriated for purposes other than building and maintaining our State’s transportation infrastructure. My bills would reallocate this revenue to the construction and maintenance of non-tolled public roads and other transportation-related infrastructure in Texas.
Additionally, my legislation would dedicate other existing taxes, such as sales tax collected from the sale of tires and motor vehicle parts as well as tax revenue from undyed diesel fuel used for off-highway vehicles to the credit of the State Highway Fund.
The Texas Department of Transportation is in need of additional funding for highway construction to keep up with our State’s population growth. Conservative estimates by the Texas State Demographer show that Texas’ population will nearly double in the next 30 years.
This growth will obviously create congestion on our State’s roads, particularly in growing cities and suburban areas, like most of the communities in Collin County, if we do not address this problem now.
By stopping the current diversions and dedicating additional revenue from sales and use taxes to the State Highway Fund, the Legislature can provide more funds to improve our State’s infrastructure without raising taxes.
Representative Ken Paxton was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2002 and is currently in his 4th term representing District 70. Paxton received his BA & MBA from Baylor University, and also earned a law degree from the University of Virginia. He and his wife Angela live in McKinney, TX and have 4 children.
© 2011 Texas Insider: www.texasinsider.org
To search TTC News Archives click
To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click