SB 911

84(R) - 2015
Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development
Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development
Energy & Environment
Transportation & Infrastructure

Vote Recommendation

  • Negative
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Negative
  • Neutral


Judith Zaffirini

Bill Caption

Relating to the eligibility for natural gas fueling stations under the Texas natural gas vehicle grant program.

Fiscal Notes

The bill would amend Chapter 394 of the Health and Safety Code to add additional interstate and state highways forming a southern triangle to the highways under the Clean Transportation Triangle (CTT) Program and the Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program (TNGVGP) that are eligible for Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) grant funding by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The bill would add the interstate highways connecting San Antonio to Corpus Christi and Laredo, and also adds state highways connecting Corpus Christi and Laredo. Areas currently located within the triangle between Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Fort Worth, excluding those along the interstate highways connecting those areas, which currently are eligible for the CTT and TNGVGP grant programs. 

The bill would expand the eligible highways under the CTT and the areas in which vehicles funded under the TNGVGP must travel at least 75 percent of annual mileage. Vehicles funded under the TNGVGP would be able to travel in and between the Corpus Christi, Laredo, and San Antonio areas in addition to existing areas under current law. The bill would also add provisions to require that natural gas fueling stations funded under the CTT Program must be no more than three miles from the designated interstate highways and state highways or located in a nonattainment area or affected county.

The TCEQ would be required to modify grant materials and forms to implement the bill's
provisions. Administrative costs to implement these changes are not expected to be significant. The agency reports that it would expect an increase in the number of eligible entities that could apply for CTT and TNGVGP grant funds. 

This estimate assumes that no additional funds would be appropriated out of the General Revenue-Dedicated TERP Account No. 5071; the bill would simply modify the entities eligible to apply for funding from the CTT and TNGVGP programs. Because the bill does not increase the maximum statutory allocation for CTT and TNGVGP grant funding of 5 percent each for each program, there would be no reallocation of existing TERP Account No. 5071 funding;with respect to the two programs affected by the bill.

Bill Analysis

SB 911, if passed, would modify the Health and Safety Code (Section 394.005) by creating a grant program for the installation of natural gas fueling stations. Specific counties, “strategically placed” would be eligible for the program. These areas are listed under Section 394.010 of the code and include the state highways in and between Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth, between San Antonio and Corpus Christi, and between Corpus Christi and Laredo. The intent to allow vehicles in those areas to rely solely on natural gas fuel. These highways are designated “necessary for the proper development and operation of the system” per Section 201.103.

SB 911 would also apply to “affected counties” which are any county with “deteriorating air quality” or among a specific list found in the bill. (These counties are listed at the end of this analysis.) Natural gas fueling stations would be required to be located within three miles of the highways in question. Other minor changes are made to reconcile this bill with the code.

“Affected counties” include the following:

Bastrop County

Bexar County

Caldwell County

Comal County

Ellis County

Gregg County

Guadalupe County

Harrison County

Hays County

Henderson County

Hood County

Hunt County

Johnson County

Kaufman County

Nueces County

Parker County

Rockwall County

Rusk County

San Patricio County

Smith County

Travis County

Upshur County

Victoria County

Williamson County

Wilson County

Vote Recommendation Notes

We believe that SB 911 is a highly problematic bill for a number of reasons. The most prominent is that in our view the state should not be in the business of picking economic winners and losers; in this case by subsidizing the natural gas fuel industry. Increased efficiency and improved air quality are certainly laudable goals but the approach proposed by SB 911 is an inappropriate response. On top of these distortions, SB 911 also favors some areas of the state over others. A final objection, empirical in nature, is directed at the questionable assumption that natural gas is a superior fuel to gasoline, particularly in newer vehicles. For these reasons, but most importantly for distorting the market and assuming a rolle totally illegitimate for a state government, we oppose SB 911.

Organizations Supporting

America's Natural Gas Alliance
Texas Alliance of Energy Producers