Statewide Transportation Measure Passes
Update: The constitutional amendment to take some oil and gas tax revenues and direct them towards road project funding passed by a wide margin – 79.78 percent for to 20.21 percent against.
"Passing Proposition 1 was just the first step in addressing the transportation funding shortfall in Texas," said Scott Haywood, President of Move Texas Forward, which pushed for the measure. "We look forward to continue working with our coalition partners as we fight for the additional funding for transportation that will move Texas forward.”
Original Story (Nov. 4, 12:21 p.m.): So much digital ink and airtime has been spilled over Austin's rail and roads proposition (commonly known as Austin's Prop 1), which would add a billion dollars in city debt to build a starter light rail line and improve state roads. But that isn't the only transportation item on the ballot this year. There's also a statewide proposition (also commonly known as statewide Prop 1) that could have an impact on Texas roads.
Our political reporting partners at the Texas Tribune put together the handy video explainer above to walk you through it.
If three-minute videos on state constitutional amendments aren't your thing, here's the gist: some of the tax revenue from the oil and gas drilling boom would go towards state road funding. Texas has plenty of tax revenues from oil and gas drilling at the moment. Once those revenues reach a certain level, the "overflow" goes into something called the Rainy Day Fund. That fund is projected to hit $8 billion next year.
Diverting some of that oil and gas production tax revenue from the Rainy Day Fund would help the Texas Department of Transportation meet some of its funding needs, even though it would still be a few billion dollars short every year. The money cannot be used on toll roads.
Here's how the ballot item, 'Proposed Constitutional Amendment,' reads:
“The constitutional amendment providing for the use and dedication of certain money transferred to the state highway fund to assist in the completion of transportation construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation projects, not to include toll roads.”
The proposed constitutional amendment is expected to pass, and polled well during early voting. It faces little to no opposition.