82nd Legislature: Transportation Funding

Since financial matters are of great public concern now, here’s a look at how TxDOT fared with regard to funding for the 2012-2013 biennium.

TxDOT was fortunate in the current economic climate and received most of what they requested. For the 2012-2013 biennium, TxDOT will receive $19.8 billion in appropriations. This is a $3.9 billion increase over the last biennium, since $1 billion was never approved for the State Infrastructure Bank in 2011. Most of this increase comes from the remaining Prop 12 bond proceeds of $4 billion.

Prop 12 bonds were approved by Texas voters in 2007, and allowed the Legislature to issue up to $5 billion in general obligation bonds for transportation. Normally transportation funds come from Fund 6—proceeds from the fuel tax, federal monies, etc.–so this marked a departure from norm. In addition, the Prop 12 funds were designated to be used for non-tolled projects.

The Prop 12 will be distributed to the following projects:

  • $300 million goes to development of future mobility projects in the four most congested regions of the state: Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Houston, San Antonio and Austin.
  • $500 million goes to specific bridges listed in the bill.
  • $600 million goes to improving urban and metro mobility. These funds will be divided among the MPOs.
  • $200 million goes to enhance connectivity, as allocated by the Texas Transportation Commission.
  • $1.4 billion goes to rehabilitation and safety improvements, to be distributed by TxDOT’s Category 1 Preventative Maintenance and Rehabilitation formulas.

The use of Prop 12 and Fund 6 appropriations require submission of a detailed plan that includes impacts to the State’s economy, traffic safety, congestion reduction, and pavement ratings. As of this biennium, the Legislative Budget Board does not have to approve the plan.

Diversions of funds from TxDOT increased from $1.15 billion to $1.28 billion. Most of this money goes to the Department of Public Safety.

TxDOT is currently searching for a new executive director, and HB 1 has allowed the department to offer as much as $292,500 in annual salary for a suitable prospect.

The next installment of this series on transportation changes from the 82nd Legislature will look at several smaller bills. If there’s a particular bill you’d like to see, leave a comment and I’ll try to accomodate.

Kari Banta

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