SB 1046 by Sen. Craig Estes relates to fees being collected that fund the TERP program. These fees are set to expire shortly, but this bill extends them until every county in Texas has reached attainment under the federal Clean Air Act.
Of the four fees collected, one - the Certificate of Title fee that generates $147.5 million a year – now flows into the Texas Mobility Fund (TMF). Then, a like amount is transferred from the State Highway Fund (SHF) to TERP. The transfer from the SHF to TERP is now set to expire at the end of 2019, allowing the Certificate of Title fee monies to continue flowing into the Mobility Fund but without any future transfers from the Highway Fund.
As TxDOT developed its future spending plans, it assumed current law would remain in effect and the transfers to TERP would expire at the end of 2019, so TxDOT programmed the additional $147.5 million annually into the Unified Transportation Plan (UTP).
SB 1046, as written, would cancel the transfer to the TMF and have the Certificate of Title fees go straight into TERP. TxDOT would have to remove ONE BILLION DOLLARS of projects from the Unified Transportation Program (UTP) over the next 10 years with the number continuing to grow dramatically for the following 10-year UTP if SB 1046 passes as written.
Solution: Senator Nichols Amendment
Senator Robert Nichols will offer an Amendment to remove Section 3 of the bill. This allows the Certificate of Title Funds to continue to flow into TMF and keeps the 2019 expiration of the SHF transfer to TERP.
- TERP will continue to receive the other three fees collected.
- These three taxes would keep growing the TERP’s $1 Billion balance.
- The Nichols amendment would keep TxDOT from being forced to cut $1 billion in projects out of the UTP.
- SB 1046 creates a diversion
Senator Nichols’ amendment saves $1 billion in highway projects – still leaving a healthy balance in the TERP account while keeping three other fees flowing into TERP.