Legislative Affairs

 

Both the Texas Legislature and the United States Congress address many important transportation issues that affect the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

Transportation and air quality in the North Central Texas region are impacted by legislative decisions at the State and federal levels. 

NCTCOG staff regularly update policy and technical committee members, transportation partners and others interested in monitoring legislative initiatives related to the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) legislative priorities.

In order to understand current legislative initiatives, the RTC directed the development of a Transportation Funding 101 primer so legislators and the general public can better understand funding sources for transportation as well as trends that impact the amount of funding available. A shortfall of funding has been identified and the primer also addresses potential solutions to increase funding options.

April 16, 2021 Legislative Update

FROM WASHINGTON, D.C.

Last Friday, President Biden released his FY2022 budget proposal, and yesterday Secretary Buttigieg presented the administration’s request for the US Department of Transportation to the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. The President’s annual budget request is essentially just a springboard from which Congress will kick off its own annual appropriations negotiations. Nothing in the proposal carries authority unless enacted by Congress in its annual appropriations bill, and it’s even more confusing this year with discussion of the American Jobs Plan (Biden’s infrastructure proposal) happening alongside, but separately from, his budget request.
 
Among the transportation highlights of the administration’s FY2022 budget proposal:

  • $317 million increase (or 1.3 percent) in overall funding for USDOT
  • 23 percent increase for the mass transit Capital Investment Grant program to $2.4 billion
  • $625 million for “a new passenger rail competitive grant program to invest in passenger rail as a competitive, low-carbon option for intercity travel”
  • FY 2022 BUILD appropriations frozen at $1.0 billion (note that Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan calls for an additional $5 billion)

 
Also, this week the US Department of Transportation has announced a notice of funding opportunity for the next round of BUILD program grants. The discretionary grant program has been renamed RAISE, for “Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity.” $1 billion is available with maximum grants of $25 million. Up to $30 million will be awarded to planning grants, including at least $10 million to Areas of Persistent Poverty.

FROM AUSTIN

There are about six weeks left of the legislative session and House and Senate committees are keeping busy holding hearings. This week we saw some of the eminent domain/landowner rights bills approved out of committee and they will next head to the Senate floor for debate. SB 726 is one of concern for high-speed rail as it would increase the requirement for how an entity demonstrates that it has made actual progress towards its stated public use. Last session, similar bills were approved in the Senate but did not come up for discussion in the House. We will continue to track those closely.
 
The House Appropriations Committee this week approved their version of the State budget and it now heads to the House floor for debate and amendment approvals next Thursday, April 22. Once the House approves their budget, the House and Senate will go to a conference committee to work out the differences of the two versions of the budget.
 
Coming up next week, the House Transportation Committee has posted a lengthy agenda of bills to hear in committee. Transportation funding bills, such as imposing an additional fee at registration for electric vehicles or using funds in the State Highway Fund for transit and bike paths, are on the agenda to be discussed. And bills that would authorize CDAs in other parts of the state, including IH-35 in Austin, are on the agenda. More details on the entire agenda can be found below.

HIGHLIGHTED BILLS

TEXAS LEGISLATURE

None this week

RECENT COMMITTEE HEARINGS

US CONGRESS

  • The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing on April 14, 2021, to provide members an opportunity to outline their policy priorities. Many members expressed the importance of public infrastructure projects and detailed the projects in their states and districts that need greater investment.
  • The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing on April 15, 2021, to discuss public transportation infrastructure investment and FAST Act reauthorization. Ms. Beth Osborne, Director of Transportation for America, spoke about refocusing the federal transit program to improve transit frequency, reliability, and ridership and expand access to jobs and services in both urban and rural areas, and said funding was needed for transit operations in addition to capital projects. Mr. Baruch Feigenbaum, Senior Director of Transportation Policy for the Reason Foundation, said that, in light of the decline in ridership, Congress should prioritize service for transit-dependent riders, focus on maintenance and operations over capital expenditures, and encourage private partnerships for transit innovation.
 

TEXAS LEGISLATURE

Texas House
  • The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on April 12, 2021, to introduce new legislation.
    • SB 1 (Nelson)- General Appropriations Bill.
      • Reported from Committee as Substituted.
  • The House Culture, Recreation, and Tourism Committee held a hearing on April 12, 2021, to introduce new legislation.
    • HB 4499 (Zwiener)- Relating to a study of the feasibility of establishing a regional connected trails program.
      • Left Pending.
  • The House Environmental Regulation Committee will hold a hearing on April 12, 2021, to introduce new legislation.
    • HB 1820 (Zwiener)- Relating to the regulation, monitoring, and enforcement of matters under the jurisdiction of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 2361 (Landgraf)- Relating to the new technology implementation grant program administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 2539 (Turner)- Relating to the distribution of funds designated for the low-income vehicle repair assistance, retrofit, and accelerated vehicle retirement program.
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 2994 (Lopez)- Relating to programs that can be established and funded under the Texas emissions reduction plan.
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 286 (Cortez)- Relating to the eligibility for grants for alternative fueling facilities.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • HB 2468 (Thompson)- Relating to programs established and funded under the Texas emissions reduction plan.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted.
    • HB 2577 (Kuempel)- Relating to the light-duty motor vehicle purchase or lease incentive program.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted.
    • HB 2423 (Davis)- Relating to the periodic emissions and safety inspections of certain motor vehicles.
      • Voted Favorably.
  •  
    The House Administration Committee held a hearing on April 13, 2021, to introduce new legislation.
  • HCR 3 (VanDeaver)- Requesting the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House of Representatives to direct the appropriate house and senate committees to conduct an interim study regarding the feasibility of integrating the Northeast Texas Train into the state park system.
    • Left Pending.
  • The House Transportation Committee held a hearing on April 13, 2021, to introduce new legislation.
    • HB 795 (Goodwin)- Relating to the designation of highway safety corridors.          
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 1075 (Meza)- Relating to the designation of State Highway 356 in Irving as a historic highway. 
      • Voted Favorably.
    • HB 1455 (Holland)- Relating to the designation of the portion of State Highway 66 in Rockwall County as the Commissioner David Magness Highway. 
      • Voted Favorably.
    • HB 2220 (Canales)- Relating to the marketing and sale of certain license plates by a private vendor. 
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted.
    • HB 3925 (Collier)- Relating to pedestrian use of a sidewalk. 
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 3113 (Thompson)- Relating to the county in which a motor vehicle dealer may apply for the registration of and title for certain vehicles sold by the dealer.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • HB 442 (Israel)- Relating to the prima facie speed limit on certain streets and highways.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • HB 443 (Israel)- Relating to requiring the operator of a vehicle to stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • HB 1698 (Raney)- Relating to authorizing an optional county fee on vehicle registration in certain counties to be used for transportation projects.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted.
    • HB 3665 (Ordaz Perez)- Relating to the definition of bicycle.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted.
    • HB 4532 (Ortega)- Relating to the development and operation of a transportation project by a regional mobility authority.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • HB 2081 (Reynolds)- Relating to motor vehicle accidents involving a pedestrian or other vulnerable road user within the area of a crosswalk.
      • Voted Favorably.
  •  The House State Affairs Committee held a hearing on April 14, 2021, to introduce new legislation.
    • HB 1810 (Capriglione)- Relating to maintenance and production of electronic public information under the public information law.
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 3015 (Hernandez)- Relating to a governmental body's response to a request for public information.
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 3963 (King)- Relating to the placement of electric vehicle charging equipment on state property.
      • Left Pending.
  • The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on April 14, 2021, to introduce new legislation.
    • HB 3294 (Bell)- Relating to funding for the Texas emissions reduction plan.
      • Left Pending.
  • The House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee held a hearing on April 15, 2021, to introduce new legislation.
    • HB 2349 (Noble)- Relating to vehicle safety inspections of certain travel trailers.
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 3251 (Thompson)- Relating to the use of unmanned aircraft.
      • Left Pending.
Texas Senate
  • The Senate State Affairs Committee held a hearing on April 12, 2021, to introduce new legislation.
    • SB 721 (Schwertner)- Relating to the disclosure of appraisal reports in connection with the use of eminent domain authority. 
      • Voted favorably.
    • SB 723 (Schwertner)-Relating to certain requirements in connection with the acquisition of real property for public use by an entity with eminent domain authority. 
      • Voted favorably.
    • SB 726 (Schwertner)-Relating to establishing actual progress for the purposes of determining the right to repurchase real property from a condemning entity.  
      • Voted favorably as Substituted.
  • The Senate Business and Commerce Committee held a hearing on April 13, 2021, to introduce new legislation.
    • SB 1262 (Birdwell)- Relating to a restriction on the regulation of utility services and infrastructure based on the energy source to be used or delivered.
      • Left Pending.
    • SB 1606 (Hall)- Relating to protecting the population of Texas, its environment, and its most vulnerable communities, promoting the resilience of the electric grid and certain municipalities. 
      • Left Pending.
    • SB 839 (Schwertner)-Relating to the regulation of electric vehicle charging equipment by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. 
      • Left Pending.
    • SB 1003 (Springer)-Relating to siting requirements for the construction of a wind turbine. 
      • Left Pending.
  • The Senate Transportation Committee held a hearing on April 14, 2021, to introduce new legislation. Public testimony will be taken.
    • SB 763 (Powell)- Relating to the creation of the urban air mobility advisory committee.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • SB 1814 (Seliger)- Relating to oversize and overweight vehicle permits.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • SB 1816 (Seliger)- Relating to certain temporary vehicle permits and tags.
      • Voted Favorably.
 

UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS

US CONGRESS

  • Tuesday at 9:30 am the US House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing to examine the American Jobs Plan, focusing on infrastructure, climate change, and investing in our nation's future. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will testify.
 

TEXAS LEGISLATURE 

House Environmental Regulation will hold a hearing on Monday, April 19, 2021.
  • HB 897 (Reynolds) Relating to the analysis of inspection and maintenance requirements for air quality permits issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for certain oil and gas facilities.
 
House State Affairs will hold a hearing on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.
  • HB 623 (Morales) Relating to the designation of wind-powered energy device construction areas by certain counties.
  • HB 4556 (Anchia) Relating to energy efficiency goals for electric utilities.
  • HB 4420 (Krause) Relating to a study and analysis by the comptroller on delivery methods used for certain projects of the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Water Development Board.
  • HB 3388 (Thompson) Relating to information regarding state agency vehicle fleets.
 
House County Affairs will hold a hearing on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.
  • HB 1030 (Shaheen) Relating to the publication of required notice by a political subdivision by alternative media.
 
House Transportation will hold a hearing on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.
  • HB 130 (Rodriguez) Relating to a highway toll exemption for public school buses.
  • HB 427 (King) Relating to imposing an additional fee for the registration of electric and hybrid vehicles.
  • HB 554 (Lopez) Relating to the operation of a motor vehicle passing a pedestrian or a person operating a bicycle.
  • HB 1367 (Israel) Relating to the exemption from registration fees of certain vehicles used by nonprofit disaster relief organizations.
  • HB 2503 (Guillen) Relating to procedures governing a regional mobility authority in relation to certain federal public transportation funding.
  • HB 2637 (Cook) Relating to the creation of the urban air mobility advisory committee.
  • HB 2748 (Ellzey) Relating to the enforcement of commercial motor vehicle safety standards in certain municipalities.
  • HB 2986 (Martinez) Relating to imposing an additional fee for the registration of an electric vehicle.
  • HB 3159 (Martinez) Relating to Texas Department of Transportation and regional mobility authority comprehensive development agreements.
  • HB 3160 (Martinez) Relating to Texas Department of Transportation and regional mobility authority comprehensive development agreements.
  • HB 3319 (Meyer) Relating to certain measures to promote compliance with and improve public awareness of the state's move over or slow down law concerning the passing of certain vehicles.
  • HB 3467 (Canales) Relating to the amendment of an existing comprehensive development agreement for State Highway 130.
  • HB 3664 (Dean) Relating to designation by the purchaser of a motor vehicle of the county in which a motor vehicle dealer shall apply for the registration of and title for certain vehicles sold by the dealer.
  • HB 3823  (Ramos) Relating to the civil penalty for certain signs placed on the right-of-way of a public road.
  • HB 3867 (Shaheen) Relating to information contained in the annual financial audit of certain regional transportation authorities.
  • HB 4087 (Burns) Relating to the enforcement of commercial motor vehicle safety standards in certain municipalities.
  • HB 4097 (Dutton) Relating to the ownership, control, or operation of certain used motor vehicle dealers by certain motor vehicle manufacturers and distributors.
  • HB 4515 (Morales) Relating to design considerations of transportation projects by the Texas Department of Transportation.
  • HB 4520 (Morales) Relating to equitable representation in decision making for transportation planning.
  • HB 4535 (Guillen) Relating to the weight limit of certain vehicles.
  • HB 4539 (Cain) Relating to prohibiting tolls on certain segments of State Highway 146.
  • HJR 109 (Walle) Proposing a constitutional amendment to permit additional uses of certain dedicated general revenue transferred each fiscal year to the state highway fund.
 
Texas Senate
Senate Finance will hold a hearing on Monday, April 19, 2021.
  • SB 683 (Blanco) Relating to defense economic readjustment zones.
  • HB 1118 (Capriglione) Relating to state agency and local government compliance with cybersecurity training requirements.
 
Senate Business and Commerce will hold a hearing on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.
  • SB 243 (Eckhardt) Relating to energy efficiency goals for electric utilities.
  • SB 1225 (Huffman) Relating to the authority of a governmental body impacted by a catastrophe to temporarily suspend the requirements of the public information law.
 
Senate Transportation will hold a hearing on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.
  • HB 1116 (Thompson) Relating to toll collection and enforcement on state highway toll lanes by entities other than the Texas Department of Transportation.
  • SB 1815 (Seliger) Relating to motor vehicle size and weight limitations.
  • SB 1910 (Blanco) Relating to the authority of the Texas Department of Transportation to provide road services on federal military property.
  • SB 2012 (Taylor) Relating to the offense of operating certain vehicles without a license plate.
  • HB 5 (Ashby) Relating to the expansion of broadband services to certain areas.
 
Senate Veteran Affairs and Border Security will hold a hearing on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.
  • SB 149 (Powell) Relating to the prosecution of the offense of operation of an unmanned aircraft over certain facilities.
 
To view Committee Hearings for the Texas Senate click here:
http://www.senate.texas.gov/av-live.php

To view Committee Hearings for the Texas House click here: 
http://www.house.state.tx.us/video-audio/
 

In 2005 Congress passed the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) . This legislation guided surface transportation policy and funding through 2009. Nine short-term extensions passed since SAFETEA-LU expired in 2009. The final short-term extension of SAFETEA-LU extended surface transportation authorization through June 30, 2012.

On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed into law a two-year $105 billion surface transportation authorization, titled Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). MAP-21 reauthorized the federal-aid highway, highway safety and transit programs that were last authorized by SAFETEA-LU. New programs and funding levels began on October 1, 2012, and continued through September 30, 2014. The final short-term extension of MAP-21 expired on December 4, 2015.  

On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act into law, which authorizes Federal highway, transit, safety and rail programs for five years at $305 billion. The FAST Act is effective October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2020.

2019 RTC Principles for Federal Surface Transportation Authorization

Resources

FAST Act MAP-21 SAFETEA-LU