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Grassroots Action Center

Read how to restore a Pro-Taxpayer Road Policy in Texas.

Below you will find TURF's analysis of the sessions as they happen. After the current session info, previous session reports are listed.

2013 (83rd legislative session)

See how your legislators voted - TURF 2013 Legislative Report Card

The 83rd Session: It’s a wrap: Legislature drops boom on taxpayers with more tolls, fees

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Pay-as-you-go funding of road construction can be done with a comprehensive transportation package, which should include:
  • State government restructuring to eliminate overlapping, duplicated effort;phase-out of funding for budget items beyond the core constitutional responsibilities of state government;
  • TxDOT operational reforms & increased transparency;
  • Reigning in flagrant waste (documented) via “local control” RMAs, MPOs and COGs spending millions on “enhancements”;
  • Refocus on building highways to relieve traffic congestion – not funding light rail, street cars, biking/hiking trails, parks and roads for economic development (the “build it and they will come” scenario);
  • Ending diversions;
  • Dedicating vehicle sales and use tax revenue to highway construction (the Nichols Plan – SB 287);
  • Early debt retirement, if approved by the people (the Eltife Plan – Constitutional Amendment via SJR 47)

Reforms Required as part of the package:
  • Return to pay-as-you-go; no more public road debt (state or local).
  • Make all toll viability studies OPEN to the public (currently kept SECRET) - (HB 2870 - Capriglione)
  • No more Public Private Partnerships (P3s), handing control of our Texas infrastructure to private, even foreign, corporations. This applies to roads and other public facilities such as the Capitol Complex. No more use of eminent domain for private gain.
  • No more public subsidies, credit enhancements, or loan guarantees for any type of toll project.
  • Comprehensive financial audit of TxDOT prior to the agency’s next sunset review in 2015 to gain efficiencies and end practices that drive-up costs, e. g., Design-Build CDAs, P3s, and multi-million dollar “enhancements” that have nothing to do with moving traffic.

New Revenues:
  • End diversions of all road user fees (motor fuel tax, vehicle sales tax, tire sales, auto parts sales tax) to non-transportation uses.
  • Phase-in motor vehicle sales/use tax revenues to the Highway Fund, consistent with Nichols’ SB 287.

Constitutional restrictions on the use of New Revenues
  • No diversions: May only be used for planning, design, construction of new state highway system road capacity and the maintenance of this new capacity once built.
  • Not Used for Toll Roads: May not be used on comprehensive development agreements or projects involving the construction of toll lanes.
  • No Debt: Shall be used for pay-as-you go projects and may not be used as backing for new debt financing (whether at the state or local level).
  • No non-road expenditures: None of these funds may be used for any expense related to bike trails, transit or pedestrian walkways.

Read more: 2013 (83rd legislative session)

2007 (80th legislative session)

Legislation covered this session:
  • Privatization/Foreign management
  • Public-Private Partnerships: (Comprehensive Development Agreements)
  • Gas tax
  • Local option sales tax for transportation
  • Non-competes:
  • Abolish Trans Texas Corridor
  • Eminent Domain
  • Tolling public freeways/conversion

Read more: 2007 (80th legislative session)

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