Texas voters, Say Yes To More Funding for Roads

Texas – In the last two years, Texas voters have overwhelmingly approved constitutional amendments pushing more tax dollars toward road construction, without actually raising taxes.

In November 2014, voters signed off on a measure approved in the 2013 Legislature to shift oil and natural gas tax collections over a specific amount from the rainy day fund to the State Highway Fund. The first-year estimate was $1.7 billion. Additionally, voters said yes to Proposition 7, establishing two dedicated sources of road-building money from motor vehicle sales and rental taxes and general tax revenue over specific amounts. This projects to about $3 billion per year.

November 2014: Proposition 1

This will yield billions for Texas roadways without raising taxes. The proposal takes half the energy-production taxes, oil and natural gas, that would otherwise flow to the state’s rainy day fund and deposits the sum in the highway fund. That was projected to yield about $1.7 billion in the first fiscal year, with the money restricted to non-toll projects.

In favor 79.86 percent; against 20.14 percent

November 2015: Proposition 7

This measure establishes two dedicated revenue streams for state roads without raising taxes. It won’t solve all our road-funding problems immediately, but it at least would get investments back on course. As approved, 35 percent of motor vehicle sales and rental taxes in excess of $5 billion, along with $2.5 billion a year from general state tax revenue in excess of $28 billion, goes to road construction and maintenance.

In favor 83.23 percent; against 16.76 percent

Specifically, up to $2.5 billion more each year would be directed for road and bridge work via the state’s sales tax starting in Sept. 2017.

Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, has said the proposed amendment to the state constitution would go a long way toward alleviating the $5 billion annual shortfall in funding for the Texas Department of Transportation.

“Both elected officials and the public have signaled transportation funding is a major concern,” Simmons said in previous remarks. “(Prop. 7) will allow TxDOT to allocate more funds to alleviate congestion, repair bridges, and improve and maintain our infrastructure.”

SOURCE: The Dallas Morning News

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