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Rep.Lopez, Ray

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Rep. Lopez makes a Statement on the Texas House Committee on Transportation Interim Report findings 
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by: Rep. Lopez, Ray
02/09/2021

Austin, TX - “What we continue to learn from these reports is that the state’s transportation funding has become increasingly unsustainable and strained with each passing year,” said State Representative Ray Lopez. In its 2019-2021 findings, the House Transportation Committee's interim report outlines how the failure to index Texas' motor fuels tax at its inception in 1991 resulted in the deterioration of its purchasing power by half over the last three decades due to inflation. "If the legislature had indexed the tax to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) 30 years ago, it would have kept pace with inflation and the state would be collecting twice the revenue from the motor fuel tax as it is today," added Rep. Lopez.

In testimony provided to the House Transportation Committee by Brianne Glover, a research scientist at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), it was made clear that engine technology is more fuel efficient and will not require as much gasoline or diesel to operate. Concurrently, as electric vehicles become more popular in Texas, the state's infrastructure funds will diminish even further. The motor fuels tax is the second largest revenue source for transportation and infrastructure maintenance in Texas. As a result of the anticipated proliferation of electric vehicles, improving motor fuel efficiency and spikes of population growth in Texas, infrastructure is at risk of being overwhelmed by incredible demand and limited funding. TTI has indicated that gas and diesel usage will peak around 2030. Thus, the legislature has only nine years to capitalize on the demand for motor fuels before they become deficient sources of revenue.

"The mounting issue of infrastructure funding needs to be addressed quickly to prevent irrecoverable shortfalls and is the reason I have filed House Bill 207. By indexing the motor fuels tax to CPI we could see potential revenue increases of nearly a billion dollars over the next five years. $660 million for transportation, and because 25% of the revenue goes to state education coffers, an increase of $220 million for Texas' students,” said Rep. Lopez. TTI models estimate that projects that cost $500 million to construct today will cost $550 million in 2025 and $600 million in 2030. "We cannot wait any longer to address this issue. It is painfully obvious the correlation between inflation and construction costs adversely affects every person’s commute in our state." Without HB 207 the purchasing power of the motor fuels tax will continue to decline and Texans will not see relief from increasing toll costs and expensive municipal bond proposals. HB 207 will ensure infrastructure funding permanency for the benefit of all Texans.

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