Texas will get a $1.1 billion boost in highway funding thanks to its booming economy, much of which is due to the oil and gas industry.
According to Transport Topics, TxDOT Chief Financial Officer Brian Ragland said the additional money for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) should speed up current highway projects, but how much money the state will have to spend on highways in the future will depend on whether the economic surge continues.
“We’ll definitely take advantage of this new funding to do projects sooner than we would have,” Ragland told the news agency. “Does this mean more projects will get done in the long run? I can’t say with any certainty because it is so volatile.”
According to the news agency, the Texas comptroller’s revenue update for fiscal 2018 and 2019 released July 11, 2018 shows that, in November, TxDOT should receive $1.37 billion under Proposition 1, a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2014 that directs a portion of oil and gas severance taxes to TxDOT’s highway fund. That money, combined with the $734 million that TxDOT received last November, will give the agency approximately $2.1 billion for the two-year budget.
In addition to that funding, there’s funding from Proposition 7, the 2015 constitutional amendment that brings TxDOT up to $2.5 billion of Texas sales tax revenue annually, receiving the full amount if the state’s annual sales tax revenue hits $30.5 million. In its 2018-19 budget, the Legislature projected TxDOT would receive $4.7 billion from Proposition 7 over those two years, but the comptroller now estimates that it will get the full $5 billion, Ragland told the news agency. All combined, this is at least an 8 percent increase in TxDOT’s annual budget, which is expected to have an impact on highway expansion.