Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
Relating to the development, construction, and operation of toll
projects; authorizing an administrative fee; imposing a civil
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 1951 would impose a variety of new constraints upon tolling entities. The bill would require voter approval for certain toll projects, would cap administrative fees at no more than $48 a year, and would repeal provisions establishing certain misdemeanor offenses for the nonpayment of tolls. Additionally, the bill would allow the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to to enter into no more than two comprehensive development agreements with private entities per year, with voter approval required for each agreement. TxDOT would only be allowed to enter into such agreements if (1) the estimated capital costs for construction exceed $1 billion, (2) TxDOT demonstrates that state funding for the project is not available without significant reprioritization of existing funds that are designated for other highway improvement projects, and (3) the construction does not require the use of money in the state highway fund.
Texas Action remains neutral on HB 1951 due to conflicting principles. On one hand, we applaud the bill's provisions relating to capping administrative fees and repealing criminal penalties. However, we are concerned that the deletion of language related to the cessation of tolls upon repayment of the project costs, that was included in the bill as introduced, significantly weakens this bill and withholds the type of toll project reform that Texans need. Therefore, we remain neutral on HB 1951.