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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

State Failure, Local Motion

Yesterday, Senator John Corona (R-Dallas), chairman of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee, filed Senate Bill 885 that would allow urban areas to vote to levy local taxes to fund road and rail projects. Among the local taxes that could be raised under Senator Corona's plan are the following:

Gas tax, capped at 10 cents a gallon.
"Mobility improvement fee," capped at $60, essentially an increase in the annual vehicle registration fee.
"Parking regulation and management fee" of up to $1 per hour for use of a parking space.
Annual motor vehicle emissions fee, based on the amount of pollutants emitted by a vehicle, of up to $15.
Added driver's license renewal fee (once every six years) equal to the renewal fees in current law for various types of licenses.
"New resident impact fee" of up to $250, levied on vehicles previous registered in another state.

We're almost finished with the first decade of the 21st century and we are just now getting around to getting serious about funding a vital need not just of North Texas, but for all of Texas. Want to take a guess as to who his uncomfortable about Senator Corona's bill? If you need more than one guess, you're not paying close enough attention to Texas politics:

And Gov. Rick Perry's main transportation adviser indicated Monday that the governor's initial support of what Carona has in mind was based on using it for rail projects in Dallas-Fort Worth. Expanding it statewide, makes the governor uncomfortable, said Kris Heckman, Perry's deputy chief of staff.

According to which study you choose to read, Texas faces a shortfall for funding roads that's somewhere between $44 billion to $300 billion. This shortfall only covers roads and not rail projects. That our Governor is uncomfortable with Texas having the funding to bring our state's infrastructure up to the demands that it will face in the present and the future speaks volumes for why the Texas GOP has watched its dominance in Texas erode and why Texas will be a swing state sooner rather than later.

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