Road Funding Success May Depend On Who Approves Rainy Day Balance | KERA News

Road Funding Success May Depend On Who Approves Rainy Day Balance

Aug 5, 2013

State. Rep. Jason Villalba, a Dallas Republican, has identified a key change he says is needed before the Texas House will pass new transportation funding.

Lawmakers in the House are expected to vote this afternoon on the latest version of the legislation.

Gov. Rick Perry has called the Legislature back for a third special session to approve nearly $900 million more for roads.

The new money would come from half the oil and gas tax dollars that currently flow into the Rainy Day Fund, a savings account.

Some lawmakers who voted against the funding last week said they wanted to make sure enough money was left in the Rainy Day Fund to address other needs. 

Rep. Villalba says some opponents didn’t want the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) deciding that minimum amount or “floor” guaranteed for the Rainy Day Fund.

The LBB is made up of top Republican leadership.  Villalba says he’s more optimistic about the bill this time because he expects it to give a panel of House and Senate members that budgeting authority.

“We have great respect for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker(of the House),” said Villalba in an interview with KERA. 

“But sometimes these decisions need to be made at the district level and so we wanted members to have a say in how that was done and the Senate felt the same way,” said Villalba.

If the new funding passes and is approved by voters about a third of new road money would likely come to North Texas.

 Transportation experts say that could be in the neighborhood of $300 million a year.