April 20, 2022 - TRA Newswire -
Terry Canales, Chair of the Texas House Committee on Transportation, has set April 26th at 12:30pm to hear from parties on interim charges and topics under the committee purview.
Of interest in rail circles, the committee will "study current and future transportation needs and consider improvements to ensure that Texas is adequately planning for the state's population growth forecasts".
The committee will also hear about House Bill 2219 which was passed in the last session that reopened the Texas Mobility Fund. The TMF provides a way to finance the design, construction, reconstruction, acquisition and expansion of highways and public transportation projects. The TMF can issue short to long-term obligations for transportation projects.
At the April 1st Southwestern Rail Conference, Chairman Canales said that "with the state's population set to almost double by 2050 rail is going to become increasingly important for the movement of freight and passengers."
See Chairman Canales' remarks delivered for the rail conference here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufZmugxuJN4
"Texas should do more for the rail industry and this coming session I would like to change that," according to Canales. "I will be working with the speaker and my fellow House members to advocate for solutions to make sure goods and people flow efficiently through our state and the corridors. That includes getting the first appropriation into the state's Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund." The RRIF has not been funded since voters approved it over a decade ago. Canales said "it's time to fund it and better support the industry. We have the mechanism, now let's use it."
The public will be invited to submit electronic comment on the issues before the committee.
Also, the hearing will evaluate the impact of the COvid-19 pandemic on transportation projects and investment decisions.
More electric and alternatively fueled vehicles are using Texas roads without paying any motor fuel taxes. The committee will study and recommend revenue methods to make it a level playing field for the majority of Texans that do pay fuel taxes at the gas pump.
The interim charge hearing will also encompass HB 3514 that covers functions of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and HB 3927 that deals with temporary motor vehicle tags, which has become a major headache for the DMV.
The hearing will be Tuesday, April 26 in room E2.012 at the state capitol in Austin.
Chairman Canales remarks at the Southwestern Rail Conference can be heard in their entirety through this link:
Photo credit: Texas Directory