January 23, 2021 - TRA Austin -

Transportation funding in Texas will take a hit from early reports on the state budget for the next two years. The Texas Senate released its base budget this week and at first blush it allocates $30.4 billion to address the state’s transportation needs, including $26.4 billion for highway planning, construction, design and maintenance.

The Texas House released its base budget this week as well and it contains far more detailed information regarding transportation funding, but with an identical budget number as the Senate, $30.4 billion.

At their core the House and Senate budgets are extremely similar overall. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Dade Phelan have both expressed their support of these base budgets, implying that some agreements have already been made behind closed doors.

A decrease in state coffers from sales tax receipts and other sources due to the lingering effects of the virus is having legislators taking a hard look at all departments and suggesting that some cuts may be inevitable. There has been no substantive discussion on using part of the $11 Billion in the state "rainy day fund" to smooth out the budget.

The House funding recommendations for the Texas Department of Transportation totals $30.4 billion in all funds for the 2022-23 biennium, a decrease of $2.5 billion from the 2020-21 biennium.

The all funds decrease proposed by the House includes a decrease of $2.4 billion in Federal Funds due primarily to the agencies estimated decrease in federal reimbursements for eligible highway planning and construction expenditures compared to the 2020-21 biennium. Other funds total $20.5 billion, a net decrease of $43.4 million.
Funding recommendations from Other funds include:

Estimated $19.6 billion from available State Highway Fund (SHF) revenue sources, a net increase of $544.0 million, including an estimated $9.4 billion from traditional SHF revenue sources, an increase of $16.2 million
Estimated $6.3 billion from anticipated state sales tax deposits to the SHF (Prop 7, 2015), an increase of $611.8 million
Estimated $3.1 billion from oil and natural gas tax-related deposits to the SHF (Prop 1, 2014), a decrease of $502.3 million
And $0.7 billion from SHF regional toll project and concession fee revenues, an increase of $418.2 million.

This increase in SHF funding is offset by a decrease of $587.4 million in “other funds,” including $326 million in Revenue Bond Proceeds for the TxDOT Austin Campus Consolidation project, $130.0 million in onetime funding from the Economic Stabilization Fund, $122.0 million from the Texas Mobility Fund, and $9.4 million from other sources.

In other news, committee preferences for House members were due to Speaker Phelan this week as he works to fill seats on the committees, including Transportation. No time line was given by the Speaker on when he might release that information.