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Entries in Texas Legislature (10)


A reelection challenge (almost) as big as Texas

The Washington Post

April 25, 2017

Texas Rep. Will HurdTORNILLO, Tex. — Midterm elections are known to be brutal on the party in power, and if there is an anti-Republican wave in 2018, look for it to touch shore right here.

The vast, volatile 23rd Congressional District of Texas is bigger in area than 29 states. It stretches from San Antonio to El Paso and includes about one-third of the entire U.S.-Mexico border.

Its overwhelmingly Latino electorate last year went for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. But it also reelected a Republican to the U.S. House — one of fewer than two dozen in the country to split that way.

Rep. Will Hurd narrowly won a second term in what turned out to be the most expensive House race in Texas history. Democrats have put Hurd’s seat in their top five targets in 2018. He will also be running to beat the fickle tendencies of a district that has ousted four different incumbents since 2006.

Read on...


Texas Transportation Funding: Rep. Joe Pickett proposes $3.5 billion in sales taxes for highways

According to the Texas comptroller, sales tax collections for fiscal year 2014 were $27.4 billion. So if the measure were in place then, it would have generated $3.488 billion. The amounts are projected to increase to $3.7 billion by 2018, Pickett said.

Click here for complete article > El Paso Times

March 26, 2015

State Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, upped the ante Thursday while the Legislature looks for more funding for highways.

The chairman of the House Transportation Committee introduced two bills intended to earmark $3.5 billion a year in sales-tax revenue for transportation and to bring more transparency to the process by which the Texas Transportation Commission chooses projects to fund…

…The measure introduced by Pickett would take the first $3 billion in sales taxes that are collected each year and 2 cents of every dollar collected after that….


The trickle down on taxes and roads

Texas law provides that 0.5 percent of revenues from crude oil and natural gas production taxes are used for enforcement of the production tax provision. With the remaining revenues, 25 percent goes towards the Foundation School Fund and 75 percent goes in the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF), or Rainy Day Fund.

Click here for complete article > Odessa American

December 29, 2013

Ryan Evon|Odessa American | James Niemann, left, and Jason Jumper, CanElson employees, attach a new piece of drill pipe on drilling rig 33 in Gardendale on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. Between January 2012 and May 2013, Ector County generated approximately $155 million in crude oil production taxes, according to data from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.As the Permian Basin experiences another historic oil boom, the area roadways are under attack with increased traffic and intensified wear and tear, while the oil and gas tax revenue generated by all the activity in the area largely goes back to state coffers and is not earmarked for roads.

The Permian Basin is the top producer of crude oil and natural gas in the state, with twice as many rigs and permits producing about 30 percent more crude than the Eagle Ford Shale daily…


Legislators look for funding avenues as Texas grows

“The heavy commercial traffic, especially in certain oil and gas producing areas, the roads are congested and need maintenance,” Price, R-Amarillo, said. “Our growing population causes higher traffic, so we have a big transportation challenge to address.”

Click here for complete article > Amarillo Globe News

December 29, 2013

Like any booming state, Texas is experiencing growing pains.

This, in part, explains why voters across the state will be asked in the Nov. 4 general election to approve a constitutional amendment that would authorize the Texas Legislature to withdraw $1.2 billion a year from the rainy day fund to finance transportation projects…


Gravel Roads? Funding Cuts? Texas Transportation Proposals Create Confusion, Alarm

"I think TxDOT is under a lot of pressure. They’re underfunded right now and I’m sympathetic to that," said Bennett Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League, which raised alarm over the proposal. "There may be some cities that want to do that voluntarily, but we want to avoid the idea that the state would force these roads on unwilling cities and I think that’s the direction we’re headed."

Click here for complete article > KUT Radio

September 9, 2013

Last week people packed into a room in downtown Austin. The Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees the Texas Department of Transportation, was having it’s monthly meeting. There it got some advice from State Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso.

"I think it’s time for TxDOT to say we made a mistake," Rep. Pickett said.

And, he added, begin to clarify its cost-savings plans.

"We’re not just going to tear all these roads up unless we have town hall meetings, buy-in from the local governments," he said, referring there to a plan TxDOT had to convert some asphalt roads in south and west Texas to gravel. Those were roads that have been hit hard by overweight trucks working on the oil drilling boom in the regions.

But some local officials have objected – and the plan has been put on hold for 60 days. A separate cost-cutting plan would have shifted the burden of maintaining some state-owned roads onto local governments. They would absorb $165 million a year in road maintenance costs. Participation is supposed to be voluntary, but there’s been no official confirmation that that’s the case.



The Economist: The billion-dollar bandage

Ray Perryman is president and chief executive officer of The Perryman Group (perrymangroup.com). He also serves as institute distinguished professor of economic theory and method at the International Institute for Advanced Studies. Perryman will be a keynote speaker at the 16th Annual Ports-to-Plains Alliance Conference in Amarillo, TX on October 1-3, 2013.


Adding to the problem in some areas is the boom in oil and gas activity, which has dramatically increased truck and other traffic well beyond the ability of aging roads to absorb it.

In fact, in a great twist of irony, many of the very roads that are supporting the prosperity in the energy industry are being allowed to revert to gravel due to the lack of political will to fund needed repairs and upgrades.

Click here for complete article > Victoria Advocate

August 10, 2013

The Texas Legislature finally dealt with the problem of highway funding - sort of. Strong population and economic growth have increased traffic on the state's highways, but funding has not risen accordingly, and the system is severely strained. Despite much debate through the regular session and a trio of special sessions, the final deal punts the issue to voters and doesn't really solve the problem in any case.

The population of Texas has been expanding faster than most areas because of the relatively high fertility rate and, thus, rate of natural population increase and a growing economy attracting people in from elsewhere…


Texas Drivers Stuck in Traffic as State Rejects Road Tax

“You’d think that a Republican legislature that is backed overwhelmingly by the business community would listen to business leaders,” said Tom Terkel, founder of Four T Realty LLC in Austin, a real-estate investment and asset management company. “It’s an absolute, complete failure on the part of the Texas Legislature to provide alternatives.”

Click here for complete article > Bloomberg

August 7, 2013

Gary Hinze’s truck route delivering car-wash detergent, paint and engine parts in Austin, Texas, often takes two hours a day longer than when he started 13 years ago -- the result of worsening bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Hinze, 57, a driver for Central Freight Lines Inc., tries to avoid Interstate 35, the often congested north-south route through the capital city, though he still winds up stuck as he stops at more than a dozen businesses to drop off products.

“They are years behind in Austin in building roads,” Hinze said as he drove his 48-foot (15 meters) truck on a recent day. “They aren’t anywhere near keeping up with the growth.”…


Texas Transportation Funding: Lawmakers Pass Roads Cash Plan, Adjourn Special Session

 The latest version is estimated to raise $1.2 billion a year for TxDOT, a fraction of the more than $4 billion TxDOT has said it needs in additional annual funding to maintain current congestion levels as the state’s population grows.

Click here for complete article > Texas Tribune

August 6, 2013

The latest version is estimated to raise $1.2 billion a year for TxDOT, a fraction of the more than $4 billion TxDOT has said it needs in additional annual funding to maintain current congestion levels as the state’s population grows.

Click here for complete article > Texas Tribune

August 6, 2013

The Texas Legislature adjourned its third special session since May on Monday night after passing a measure estimated to increase transportation funding by $1.2 billion annually if Texas voters approve it next year.

"Let's adjourn this mutha,” said state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, after the Senate had sent House Bill 1 back over to the lower chamber for final passage.

It was the third try by lawmakers since the end of the regular session to pass a measure to boost funding for the cash-strapped Texas Department of Transportation without raising taxes or fees…