Lawmakers Approve Extending Highway Funding.
AUSTIN – With near-unanimous votes in both the Texas Senate and House, state lawmakers have approved a 10-year extension of highway funding authorized by Proposition 1 in 2014. The Texarkana USA Regional Chamber of Commerce supports the legislation to continue the development of a stronger highway system for our area and Texas.
The House voted 140-1 Friday to approve SB 962 and send it to the governor’s desk for signing. The Senate earlier passed the bill unanimously. The bill was sponsored by Senator Robert Nichols, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Representative John Zerwas, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
The Texarkana Chamber along with other members of the Alliance for I-69 Texas joined with other advocates of highway funding in urging lawmakers to approve the 10-year extension that will keep funds flowing to needed projects like Interstate 69 which extends from Texarkana through Houston and south to the Rio Grande at Brownsville, McAllen, and Laredo.
Over the past four years, a total of $5.4 billion authorized by Proposition 1 has gone to upgrade and expand highway capacity in Texas. Those funds come from a portion of existing oil and natural gas production taxes and have been a significant step forward in filling the state’s highway funding gap.
When lawmakers set up Proposition 1, they included a potential termination date that would cut off those funds unless extended. Senator Nichols authored and championed the bill which will extend the termination date until 2034.
“This extension provides a level of funding certainty needed to keep highway improvement projects moving down the long path of planning, funding, and completion,” said Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy, Alliance for I-69 Texas board chairman.
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Proposition 1 directs that oil and gas production taxes above a certain level are split with half going to the state’s Rainy Day Fund and a half to the State Highway Fund. It was approved by voters by 80%.
The Texarkana USA Regional Chamber of Commerce is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the business as well as the prosperity of the Texarkana Region. For additional information concerning the Chamber, its programs and membership, contact their office at 819 North State Line Avenue, Texarkana, Texas, or 903-792-7191 or firstname.lastname@example.org or www.texarkana.org.