As you know, since the 83rd Regular Legislative Session adjourned in May, Governor Perry called three special legislative sessions focused on a range of issues including redistricting, criminal justice and various pro-life causes. The third special session, which adjourned last week, was focused solely on the issue of transportation infrastructure funding – an issue which both the House and Senate have worked diligently on for months in an effort to adequately fund both the short and long-term transportation needs of our rapidly growing state.
After much drafting, re-drafting and substantive debate over the past several months, I was proud to help craft and support a final legislative package that invests approximately $1 billion in transportation infrastructure each year without raising taxes or imposing additional fees on Texas’ taxpayers. In short, the plan utilizes a portion of the severance tax on oil and natural gas production which currently is deposited into our state’s saving account, known as the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF), to supplement funding for the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT). The plan holds the Legislature accountable for the protection and stability of the ESF and also requires TXDOT to find and implement $100 million in efficiencies prior to receiving any new funding. Finally, it bars the agency from spending these funds on toll projects. A substantial step forward in addressing our infrastructure needs for our rapidly growing state, this plan will ultimately be put to a popular vote by the people of Texas in November of 2014 in the form of a Constitutional Amendment and I strongly encourage you to support it.
While great strides were made during the 83rd Legislative Session, there are many important issues facing the State of Texas. More than ever, I look forward to working alongside my constituents, colleagues and community leaders in the coming months to determine meaningful solutions to the challenges we face. Your input is highly valued and welcomed and I encourage you to continue corresponding with my office with any questions or concerns you may have by calling (972) 424-1419 or emailing me directly at Jeff.Leach@house.state.tx.us.
Once again, thank you for allowing me to serve as your advocate in the Texas House of Representatives.
Story submitted by Texas Rep. Jeff Leach