Texas lawmakers propose constitutional amendment for transportation fund

Published: Sep. 15, 2015 at 10:48 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2016 at 12:56 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - State legislators are asking voters to approve a Texas Constitutional Amendment to fund transportation.

The new proposal would take a portion of the money from the state's sales tax revenue and add it to the State Highway Fund.

Texas House Representative Joe Pickett, who also serves as the state's chairman of transportation, says taking a portion of the state's general sales tax would help generate more money for transportation.

"We live off of sales tax in the state of Texas," he says. "Seventy-five percent of our budget for the entire state of Texas comes from sales tax."

He says if passed, this would be the largest amount of money going into transportation in the history of TXDoT.

"If Proposition 7 is successful, it means an influx of new money of about $3 billion a year," he says.

The amendment would dedicate portions of revenue from the state's general sales and use tax, as well as, from the motor vehicle sales and rental tax to the State Highway Fund.

"And, no tax increase," Representative Pickett says.

The funds could not be used for toll roads.

It can only be used for construction, maintenance, acquiring rights-of-way and to pay transportation related bond debt.

In a statement released Tuesday, Senator Charles Perry says, "The passage of Proposition 7 is important because it's a fiscally responsible way to address our transportation needs without raising taxes. It will provide an estimated $2.5 billion annually in revenue to build and maintain non-tolled roads throughout Texas. Those funds will also be used to pay down debt and help us get back to a pay-as-you-go model."

The amendment is asking voters if $2.5 billion of revenue from the sales tax can be added to the first $28 billion generated that year, to go into the state highway fund.

"This one is completely based on the success of the economy in Texas," Representative Pickett says.

Representative Dustin Burrows, released a statement on Tuesday, "I support Proposition 7 because will fund out transportation and infrastructure needs without raising taxes. This proposition is good for West Texas, in particular, because as it will provide resources to repair roads were damaged during the oil boom; maintain our existing highways; and, hopefully improve or build new roads to better connect us with the rest of the State."

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers voted for this proposition with 180 out of 181 Texas legislators supporting it.

Representative John Frullo says, "I voted for and support Proposition 7 because it will provide a reliable source of funding for transportation needs in Lubbock and across the state without raising taxes!"

A TXDot spokesperson tells us that as of now, they have no information on how the proposition might impact Lubbock and the surrounding 16 counties that make up the Lubbock District.

You'll be able to voice your opinions on this amendment at the polls during the November 3rd election.

Early voting will begin on October 19.

If passed it would take effect on September 1st of 2017.

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