Will the Sun Set on TxDOT?

Special session may be necessary

The Texas legislature lost track of priorities this week, letting a rather important task fall through the cracks: the re-approval of the Texas Department of Transportation, and several other agencies, necessary for it to continue existing.

TxDOT’s authority expires on Sept. 1, but the Texas legislature would not have a chance to renew it until it meets again in 2011.

As for what is going to happen to roads and highways in the meantime, nobody knows for sure.

“I’ll grant you that some business was left unfinished yesterday, but that will not impact the business of state agencies, that will continue their daily service to the people of Texas. I want to ensure our citizens and the employees of these agencies that Texas will continue to build and maintain roads, regulate the insurance industry, and provide essential services,” said Gov. Rick Perry.

Under state sunset laws, state agencies must be reviewed and renewed every 12 years.

The snag came when squabbles arose over issues with the massive bill that would have renewed the agency, among many other things, HB 300.

Sen. John Carona threatened to filibuster the bill because his local-option gas tax had been removed. Others said that TxDOT did not have the authority to issue $2 billion it would take to keep it running. 

Perry will likely have to call a special session this summer to keep TxDOT and several other agencies afloat.

Holly LaFon has written and worked for various local publications including D Magazine and Examiner.

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