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Summary: HB 3664 seeks to pay down the state’s transportation debt, raises numerous fees, and stipulates that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) must allocate a certain portion of funds to the private sector for projects. HB 3664 would allocate fees deposited to the State Highway Fund and give one third to reducing voter-authorized transportation-related state debt and use the rest to plan and design non-tolled improvements to the state's highways. HB 3664 stipulates that, in order to commit funds to a comprehensive development agreement, TxDOT must have a plan to contract with private sector entities, including $4 billion in department projects. Finally, HB 3664 would raise numerous fees, including the fee for motorcycles and mopeds from $30 to $60, and across the board increases in fees for vehicles weighing 6,000 pounds or more.
HB 3664’s goal of paying down voter-authorized transportation-related debt and avoiding debt service payments makes sense, as well as its commitment to hire private sector contractors. HB 3664’s numerous fee increases, however, represent an expansion of government that is of dubious necessity when the Legislative Budget Board reports the amount of revenue the State Highway Fund has obtained from fees has steadily increased over the past decade. TxDOT would be wise to favor pay as you go revenue streams over bonds that do not come with debt service obligations. Still, TxDOT can do this simply by not creating anymore bond, allowing them to avoid fee increases. We oppose HB 3664.