Background: Increased Funding for Transportation
Transportation financing has been an urgent concern for state lawmakers for at least the last three legislative sessions. The All-Funds budget for the Texas Department of Transportation for 2012-2013 was nearly $20 billion, with about half going to planning, right-of-way acquisition and construction. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Legislative Appropriations Request for the 2014-2015 biennium noted that “[t]here is no question that Texas has a transportation funding challenge. Our traditional sources of funding have proven no longer reliable, making it difficult to meet the mobility needs of our rapidly growing state.”
The 83rd Legislature (2013) responded to these financing challenges by passing Senate Joint Resolution 1 and House Bill 1 (83S3) to allow for the transfer of certain oil and gas severance tax revenues to the State Highway Fund (SHF). SJR 1 was approved by voters in November 2014. The 84th Legislature (2015) went even further, passing Senate Joint Resolution 5 to allow for the transfer of up to $2.5 billion of state sales tax revenues and a portion of the motor vehicle sales tax to the SHF each year. SJR 5 was approved by voters in November 2015 (Prop 7). As a result of these actions taken by legislators and approved by voters in 2013 and 2015, $5 billion in additional funding is available for transportation projects in the 2018-19 biennium.