Ending the third special session the Texas Legislature passed a bill Monday and a proposed constitutional amendment that would increase spending for roads and bridges.
The deal reached in the House could provide $1.2 billion a year for transportation by diverting half of the money currently flowing into the state’s Rainy Day Fund. The reserve fund was created with a constitutional amendment and therefore voters would have to give final approval in the November 2014 general election.
The bill creates a joint committee of lawmakers that would decide a minimum balance for the fund every two years, and the diversion of money for transportation falls below that level. Within the first 45 days of every legislative session lawmakers could vote to change the minimum or leave it alone.
The bill also requires that the Texas Department of Transportation find $100 million in savings to pay off long-term debt, which is expected to save $47 million in interest payments. The department would also have to spend the money on projects across the state.
Lawmakers in both the House and Senate quickly approved the only item on the agenda of the third session, which was called last week by Gov. Rick Perry.