Legislative Affairs

 

Both the Texas Legislature and the United States Congress address many important transportation issues that affect the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

Transportation and air quality in the North Central Texas region are impacted by legislative decisions at the State and federal levels. 

NCTCOG staff regularly update policy and technical committee members, transportation partners and others interested in monitoring legislative initiatives related to the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) legislative priorities.

In order to understand current legislative initiatives, the RTC directed the development of a Transportation Funding 101 primer so legislators and the general public can better understand funding sources for transportation as well as trends that impact the amount of funding available. A shortfall of funding has been identified and the primer also addresses potential solutions to increase funding options.

April 30, 2021 Legislative Update

FROM WASHINGTON, D.C.

On Wednesday, President Biden delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress. He used the occasion to lay out a nearly $2 trillion plan focused on domestic social programs. The American Families Plan would increase taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations to provide new funding for childcare, prekindergarten, paid family leave and tuition-free community college. The American Families Plan follows the American Jobs Plan, a $2.3 trillion traditional and social “infrastructure” bill, the Biden Administration proposed earlier this month.

FROM AUSTIN

With one month left in the legislative session, the legislature is currently focusing on ERCOT procedures, firearms, police reform, and public health. Bills related to transportation are still in play though. The legislature adjourns on May 31 and that is plenty of time to see reforms on safety, roadway maintenance, transportation funding, and electric vehicle infrastructure planning passed on to the Governor’s desk.
 
Budget Conferees
During the budget writing process, both chambers select members for conference committees. The purpose of these conference committees is to reconcile differences between the version of the budget that the House of Representatives has created and the version of the budget that the Senate has created. The Senate has selected the members that will serve on that conference committee. They are senators Jane Nelson, Joan Huffman, Lois Kolkhorst, Robert Nichols, and Larry Taylor. The House of Representatives appointees are Bonnen, Capriglione, Gonzalez of El Paso, Walle and Wilson. Senator Nichols and Representative Walle will lead Article VII, which includes transportation. The first meeting of the Conference Committee on SB 1 was held on Thursday where they heard an overview of the budget by the Legislative Budget Board. Chair Nelson announced the committee will work on SB 1 over the next “few” weeks. The last day of the legislative session is May 31.

HIGHLIGHTED BILLS

TEXAS LEGISLATURE

None this week

RECENT COMMITTEE HEARINGS

US CONGRESS

  • The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on Tuesday to discuss “Driving Innovation: The Future of Automotive Mobility, Safety, and Technology.” Mr. John Bozzella, President of Alliance for Automotive Innovation, called for concentration on supply chain resilience, electrification, vehicle automation, and enhanced safety technology development. Mr. Reuben Sarkar, President of American Center for Mobility, spoke about the need to develop capabilities that lower the cost and lead time to validate autonomous vehicles and accelerate the development of industry standards. Witnesses said the Federal Communications Commission should reconsider their decision to take away 45 MHz of bandwidth in the 5.9 GHz band that had previously been set aside for transportation safety.
 

TEXAS LEGISLATURE

Texas House
  • House Criminal Jurisprudence held a hearing on Monday, April 26, 2021. 
    • HB 3926 (Hefner)- Relating to the inclusion of temporary vehicle tags in the offense of tampering with a governmental record.
      • Left Pending.
  • House Defense and Veterans Affairs held a hearing on Monday, April 26, 2021. 
    • SB 1233 (Seliger)- Relating to a study of the disaster preparedness for each state military installation.
      • Left Pending.
  • House Environmental Regulation held a hearing on Monday, April 26, 2021.
    • HB 4472 (Landgraf)- Relating to the Texas emissions reduction plan fund and account.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted.
  • House Transportation held a hearing on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.
    • HB 1209 (Cortez)- Relating to contracts authorizing the use of photographic traffic signal enforcement systems.
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 2222 (Canales)- Relating to a study by the Texas Department of Transportation on future transportation needs for the year 2045.
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 3531 (Martinez)- Relating to motor vehicle titles, registration, and license plates.
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 3954 (Raymond)- Relating to the safety standards of certain rail employees; requiring an occupational permit.
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 3992 (Canales)- Relating to the use of a flashing warning signal light and certain other equipment by a person operating a school bus.
      • Left Pending.
    • SB 1308 (Blanco)- Relating to a study on the impacts of using certain motor vehicle technologies.
      • Left Pending.
    • HB 130 (Rodriguez)- Relating to a highway toll exemption for public school buses.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • HB 554 (Lopez)- Relating to the operation of a motor vehicle passing a pedestrian or a person operating a bicycle.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • HB 795 (Goodwin)- Relating to the designation of highway safety corridors.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted.
    • HB 1367 (Israel)- Relating to the exemption from registration fees of certain vehicles used by nonprofit disaster relief organizations.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • HB 2503 (Guillen)- Relating to procedures governing a regional mobility authority in relation to certain federal public transportation funding.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • HB 2637 (Cook)- Relating to the creation of the urban air mobility advisory committee.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • HB 2748 (Ellzey)- Relating to the enforcement of commercial motor vehicle safety standards in certain municipalities.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted.
    • HB 3286 (Schofield)- Relating to the posting of certain parking signs in a public right-of-way by a local government.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted
    • HB 3319 (Meyer)- Relating to certain measures to promote compliance with and improve public awareness of the state's move over or slow down law concerning the passing of certain vehicles.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted
    • HB 3467 (Canales)- Relating to the amendment of an existing comprehensive development agreement for State Highway 130.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted.
    • HB 3515 (Thompson)- Relating to certain contracts awarded by the Texas Department of Transportation.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted.
    • HB 4087 (Burns)- Relating to the enforcement of commercial motor vehicle safety standards in certain municipalities.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • HB 4535 (Guillen)- Relating to the weight limit of certain vehicles.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted.
    • SB 160 (Perry)- Relating to certain county road reports.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted.
    • SB 858 (Johnson)- Relating to the disclosure of information collected by a regional transportation authority under the public information law.
      • Voted Favorably.
    • SB 876 (Hancock)- Relating to the county in which a motor vehicle dealer may apply for the registration of and title for certain vehicles sold by the dealer.
      • Voted Favorably as Substituted.
    • SB 1064 (Alvarado)- Relating to registration and inspection requirements for certain local government fleet vehicles.
      • Voted Favorably.

Texas Senate
  • Senate Local Government held a hearing on Tuesday, April 26, 2021.
    • SB 402 (Johnson)- Relating to the municipal sales and use tax for street maintenance.
      • Left Pending.
 

UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS

US CONGRESS

  • The Subcommittee on Energy of the Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday, May 5, at 10:30 am to discuss "The CLEAN Future Act: Driving Decarbonizaion of the Transportation Sector." The committee will discuss the following bills:
    • H.R. 1512, the "CLEAN Future Act"
    • H.R. 2852, the "NO EXHAUST Act"
    • H.R. 1221, the "Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act of 2021"
    • H.R. 2308, the "Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Future Act of 2021”
  • The House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials will meet on Wednesday, May 6, at 10 am to discuss “When Unlimited Potential Meets Limited Resources: The Benefits and Challenges of High-Speed Rail and Emerging Rail Technologies.”
 

TEXAS LEGISLATURE 

Texas House 
House Environmental Regulation will hold a hearing on Monday, May 3, 2021.
  • SB 1261 (Birdwell)- Relating to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in this state and the express preemption of local regulation of those emissions.
 
House Transportation will hold a hearing on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
  • SB 1727 (Nichols)- Relating to local government corporations created for the development, construction, operation, management, or financing of transportation projects.
 
Texas Senate
Senate Business and Commerce will hold a hearing on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
  • HB 738 (Paul)- Relating to the residential building codes of municipalities.
 
To view Committee Hearings for the Texas Senate click here:
http://www.senate.texas.gov/av-live.php

To view Committee Hearings for the Texas House click here: 
http://www.house.state.tx.us/video-audio/
 

In 2005 Congress passed the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) . This legislation guided surface transportation policy and funding through 2009. Nine short-term extensions passed since SAFETEA-LU expired in 2009. The final short-term extension of SAFETEA-LU extended surface transportation authorization through June 30, 2012.

On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed into law a two-year $105 billion surface transportation authorization, titled Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). MAP-21 reauthorized the federal-aid highway, highway safety and transit programs that were last authorized by SAFETEA-LU. New programs and funding levels began on October 1, 2012, and continued through September 30, 2014. The final short-term extension of MAP-21 expired on December 4, 2015.  

On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act into law, which authorizes Federal highway, transit, safety and rail programs for five years at $305 billion. The FAST Act is effective October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2020.

2019 RTC Principles for Federal Surface Transportation Authorization

Resources

FAST Act MAP-21 SAFETEA-LU