FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2015
Austin, TX – Today, State Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) held a press conference with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to discuss the filing of Senate Bill 5 and Senate Joint Resolution 5, which will constitutionally dedicate a portion of the existing sales tax on new and used automobiles to the State Highway Fund.
"Without adequate and dependable resources, The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will continue to face challenges in constructing and maintaining Texas' highway infrastructure," said Nichols. "I appreciate the support of Lt. Governor Patrick on this bill and look forward to continuing our work towards providing adequate transportation infrastructure for Texans."
Nichols believes there are five critical elements the Legislature should look for when identifying additional funding sources for transportation. These include ensuring the funding is (1) predictable, (2) constitutionally dedicated, (3) transportation related (4) independent of fuel source and (5) able to adjust to inflation. This state motor vehicles sales tax is a revenue stream which meets all of these qualities.
"This is an issue I advocated for during the campaign that received strong support from the voters," said Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.
Conservative forecasts for this revenue stream state it will generate over $2 billion annually. If approved, this proposal will give TxDOT a predictable revenue stream which they can use to implement long-range transportation plans.
"Transportation infrastructure is a core function of government and its funding should be addressed. What could make more sense than to dedicate the tax on a vehicle, you currently pay, to the infrastructure on which it depends upon. Without roads you don't needs cars, and without cars you don't need roads," states Nichols.
In the Texas Senate, Nichols serves as Chairman for the Transportation Committee. He also serves on the Senate Finance, Natural Resources and Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committees. He is a member of the Legislative Audit Committee and a former Vice Chairman of the Sunset Advisory Committee.