Current Affairs: The Legislative Action Center

Written by  AGCTX

The AGC of Texas, in partnership with Texas Infrastructure Now, created a Legislative Action Center in order to make it easier than ever to send notice to your legislators regarding your concern for industry issues. Periodically, the Chapter creates letters to legislators, which are then posted onto the website for your use. The letters take less than thirty seconds to generate and submit. Once your address is entered, the program finds your legislators and sends them for you.

 

These legislative action tools are critical to the industry’s financial future. Lawmakers are required to balance appropriations every year depending on need and public will. It is up to the industry to supply evidence of both.

 

Right now, the legislative session is at its peak, with bills beginning to make real progress towards passage, or falling prey to lack of interest. Right now, it is more important than ever to sound the cry for increased highway funding.

 

There are two different platforms from which to demonstrate your interest in highway funding.

 

AGC of Texas Website: This resource is designed for members only. You will need a username and password for the website to use the LAC. On this site, the Legislative Action Letters are fully editable so that members may personalize them with unique information regarding their companies, workforce, and type of work performed. The site saves your information so that it is available next time you use the LAC to send a letter. Go to www.agctx.org, click on the Legislative Action Center icon on the top right of the page, and follow instructions from there.

 

Texas Infrastructure Now: Designed to serve all citizens concerned with the future of our highway system, these letters are created with more accessibility in mind. Letters are not editable, but a username and password are not needed. Otherwise, the function is the same: Enter your name and address, and the LAC does the rest for you. Go to www.infrastructuretexas.org, and click on the Legislative Action Center icon at the bottom of the page. Follow instructions from there.

 

If the highway industry is the source of your livelihood, if you believe that transportation is a core function of the government and requires more funding than it has been given, or if you are a motorist in Texas who is sick and tired of the congestion keeping you from your destination, the LAC is a valuable resource for you. Read below to see what initiatives are being talked about at the Texas Capitol.

 

Darby Files Highway Funding Legislation

Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee for Articles VI, VII, and VIII, Representative Drew Darby, filed several bills in mid-March which would increase funding for the highway program. The Chapter is asking all members to show their support for these initiatives by using the Legislative Action Center to send a letter to your lawmakers urging their support for these bills. Both sites will be updated with the most up-to-date information regarding the progress of these bills. If you should have additional questions, please contact the Chapter Office at 512.478.4691.

 

HB 19: ESF Appropriation for Water, SIB, Roads

House Bill 19 would appropriate $3.7 billion from the Economic Stability Fund (Rainy Day Fund) to fund the following:

  • (a) Credit the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas as money available for use by the Texas Water Development Board for the purpose of the state water implementation fund for Texas;
  • (b) Credit the state infrastructure bank (SIB) as money available for TxDOT; and
  • (c) Credit roadway projects in energy development areas as money available for use by TxDOT.

 

HB 3664: Registration Fee

House Bill 3664 would dedicate a third of registration fee increases to the payment of existing, voter-authorized transportation debt until debt is retired. The remaining amount may be used only for acquiring right-of-way and planning, designing, and constructing non-tolled improvements to the state highway system.

 

The department may not commit funds from the State Highway Fund or the Texas Mobility Fund to pay for CDAs unless the department has in place a plan to do the following:

 

(1) Contract for department projects with the private sector in the fiscal year in a minimum amount of $4 billion;

 

(2) Spend in the fiscal year a minimum amount of $400 million for private sector engineering services to advance projects to be let directly by the department; and

 

(3) Spend in the fiscal year a minimum amount of $250 million in right-of-way acquisition for projects to be let directly by the department. Amounts spent by the department for routine maintenance for a project may not be included for determining these amounts.

 

The legislation would also increase registration fees according to the following schedule:

 

$30 to $60 for motorcycle or moped registration

 

$50.75 to $80.75 for vehicles under 6,000 Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)

 

6,001 to 10,000 GVW—$54 to $108

 

10,001 to 18,000 GVW—$110 to $170

 

18,001 to 25,999 GVW—$205 to $265

 

26,000 to 40,000 GVW—$340 to $400

 

40,001 to 54,999 GVW—$535 to $595

 

55,000 to 70,000 GVW—$740 to $800

 

70,001 to 80,000 GVW—$840 to $900

 

$45 to $75 for trailer, travel trailer, or semitrailer with GVW of 6,000 pounds or less.

 

HB 3665: SIB/Credit Enhancement

House Bill 3665 would allow broad credit enhancement by the State Infrastructure Bank. It would also eliminate the provision for loans to private entities and limits loans to roadway projects only.

 

HB 3666: Inspection Fee

House Bill 3666 would direct DPS to collect a $15 public safety fee to be deposited to General Revenue (GR) to the credit of Texas Department of Public Safety. It will considerably ease the amount Texas DPS currently is funded from the Highway Fund (Fund 6).



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