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Under current law the Texas Mobility Fund can be used for a port security, transportation, or facility project including a maritime port study. House Bill 4021 would amend the Transportation Code so as to restrict use of Mobility Funds to only those projects that will construct or improve public roadways that will enhance connectivity to ports. This bill would also create the Ship Channel Improvement Revolving Fund. The bill would also expand the total number of Port Authority Advisory committee members.
Shipping channels and ports are waterways of the state and are critical common use infrastructure to our economy. As such they fall into the legitimate transportation function of the state.
Our primary concern with this bill is the substantial cost being incurred to establish a loan program. Being a critical function of government, we believe it is inappropriate to use a loan type program for these types of cost. Once upon a time our transportation system was a pay as you go system which is more responsible way of funding these types of projects.
Because of these conflicting provisions on our principles, we remain neutral on House Bill 4021.