Houston Senator Borris Miles has filed a Joint Resolution that would permit additional uses of certain dedicated general revenue to enhance public transportation, bike paths, public sidewalks and non-toll highways.
If lawmakers give the Joint Resolution a green light, SJR 40 would go on the November 2021 ballot and the public would decide, by way of a constitutional amendment, to approve or reject the measure.
Excess monies in the state's Economic Stabilization Fund (the so-called "rainy day" fund) would be channeled to four transportation modes. Revenue that was transferred from the fund each fiscal year would be used for constructing, maintaining and acquiring right-of-way for 1) public roadways other than toll-roads 2) public transportation 3) public bicycle paths and 4) public sidewalks.
Any funding would be channeled through the Texas Department of Transportation's state highway fund.
"Once the Rainy Day Fund reaches a certain level as determined by state lawmakers those monies are required to be channeled elsewhere", according to Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody. "Making more transportation modes more available to more Texans makes sense and we commend Senator Mile for bringing forward SJR 40."
"We hope that citizens will contact their state Senator and Representative and support SJR 40." LeCody said that rural and urban areas could all benefit from non-highway and non-toll road projects. "Increasing public transportation in underserved areas we call 'transit deserts' would allow more Texans transportation choices to get to work, school, healthcare sites or even to boost tourism in certain areas."
If legislators approve SJR 40 the proposed constitutional amendment submitted to voters on November 2 would read "The constitutional amendment to permit additional uses of certain dedicated general revenue transferred each fiscal year to the state highway fund."