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NEWS UPDATE

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New Way To Pay For Texas Highways

Updated: Wednesday, June 12 2013, 10:03 PM CDT

Texas is on a hunt to find new ways to pay for the construction and maintenance of state highways. The Texas Senate will vote this week on whether to take some of the money that would go into the state's rainy day fund and use it to build and repair Texas roads. The joint resolution being considered by lawmakers could end up saving drivers money.

If Texas drivers want to pay fewer tolls a solution may be as simple as having the state sock away less money in the rainy day fund.

Cab driver K.C. Nwokocha racks up 50,000 miles a year. It's easy to see why he wants Texas to save less and spend more on state roads.

"The rainy day fund is a good deal, but right now we need quality of life," he says.

And Texas may be ready to dig deep to improve state roads. Some Republicans in the Texas Senate want to divert part of the tax paid by oil and gas corporations out of the rainy day fund and into the Texas Department of Transportation.

No money would be taken out of the $8 billion rainy day fund, but new oil and gas revenue would not get pumped in as fast.

"The spigot pouring money into it would just slow down a little bit," said Sen. Robert Nichols, a republican from East Texas.

Slowing the flow into the state's savings account would make a big chunk of money available to build new highways and fix older ones.

"It's about $900,000,000 a year," said Sen. Nichols.

From K.C.'s perspective it's the most cost effective way to keep Texas drivable.

"We don't need any more toll roads," said the cab driver.

The Texas Senate is expected to vote on the proposed constitutional amendment on June 14.

By Bettie CrossNew Way To Pay For Texas Highways


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