84(R) - 2015
Transportation & Infrastructure
Relating to funding and donations for transportation projects, including projects of county energy transportation reinvestment zones.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
The bill would amend the Transportation Code, with respect to the Transportation Infrastructure Fund (TIF), to adjust the criteria for which grants from the TIF are allocated among counties, specially changing the ability to allocate grants from 'zones' to 'counties', to widen the scope of where these monies can be utilized.
Vote Recommendation Notes
During the 83rd Legislature, SB 1747 created County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zones which allowed for counties to create energy transportation reinvestment zones in areas affected by oil and gas exploration, in order to finance transportation projects thanks to tax increment financing. We opposed this bill during last session on the basis that it was creating dedicated funds and increasing the use of tax increment financing to redirect some tax revenues to transportation projects.
Since then, and according to the statement of purpose for another bill introduced this session and related to these zones, Senate Bill 1788, the Office of the Attorney General communicated in an opinion that these zones could not be formed without a constitutional amendment. While Senate Bill 1788 aims at correcting this problem in statute, by permitting a county with such a zone to use money in the tax increment account to provide funding for transportation infrastructure projects throughout the county rather than simply a zone within the county, Senate Bill 1875 would adjust the criteria for which grants from the Transportation Infrastructure Fund are allocated among counties, specially changing the ability to allocate grants from 'zones' to 'counties', to widen the scope of where these monies can be utilized.
We oppose Senate Bill 1875 for the same reasons as we opposed SB 1747 the past session. While we recognize that transportation infrastructure is an important concern, these zones redirect tax revenues for transportation projects. Transportation projects should be funded through the appropriations process.