Perry Tells Special Session to Get Moving on Transportation
The session going nowhere fast to discuss going nowhere fast
By Richard Whittaker, 8:37AM, Tue. Jun. 11
Texas' transport infrastructure, from road to rail to air, is a complete mess and getting worse. So, as the House and Senate Redistricting Select Committees keeps adding hearings in the special session, Gov. Rick Perry has given the rest of the legislature something to do, adding transportation to the call.
Late yesterday, Perry made his announcement, saying, "Texas' growing economy and population demand that we take action to address the growing pressure on the transportation network across the state. As we enjoy the benefits of a booming economy, we have to build and maintain the roads to ensure we sustain both our economic success and our quality of life."
The political shorthand of this is simple: In between the collapse of negotiations in the regular session and now, some form of agreement has been reached on funding transportation investment. With a deal at least penciled in, this means the budget builders have enough to take to the floor. The big question now is whether this will be all road money, or whether the rail advocates have managed to slink something in.
So what does that mean for all the other issues that lawmakers are pushing Perry to add? So far, there's no sign of any deals, so they will likely lie fallow. That goes for Republican red meat bills like fetal pain as much as the more consensual tuition revenue bonds. There's an estimated need of $2.5 billion in construction costs at 60 college campuses across the state, and without TRBs nothing will be built. Unlike transportation, it seems there is no deal yet, nor is one imminent.