Gov. Rick Perry today signed into law Senate Bill 792, a statewide transportation bill that ensures Texas will continue to build needed roads and expands the powers of local transportation authorities to develop toll projects.
"I am proud to sign this legislation because it will help Texas build the roads we need to manage our state's tremendous population growth," Perry said. "Under this legislation, every planned road construction project will move forward as scheduled, local leaders will have more authority to build new toll roads and all toll revenue will be used for transportation projects in the area it was raised."
Key provisions in SB 792 will:
* Ensure that local toll authorities have the first option to build new toll projects and may use state rights of way as needed.
* Require local toll authorities and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to agree to certain business terms, such as toll rates, when a project is first proposed and to perform a Market Valuation Study based on those terms to determine a road's total value.
* Allow local toll authorities to propose that needed state roads be built as toll roads; currently, only TxDOT can initiate such a proposal. This provision will allow more needed toll roads to be built sooner.
* Modify comprehensive development agreements (CDAs) by limiting CDAs to 50 years; mandating that the state's future buyback cost be stipulated in the CDA; clarifying that competing tax roads cannot be built within four miles on either side of a CDA toll road; and requiring CDA revenue be used only for other projects in the region in which it is generated.
* Place a two year moratorium on some CDAs. Virtually all CDAs planned to be executed over the next two years were exempted from the moratorium by their local lawmakers.
* Allows TxDOT to issue $3 billion in bonds to borrow against future gas tax revenue. This provision will allow TxDOT to use these bonds as toll equity for state toll roads.
* SB 792 is a compromise bill lawmakers developed after the governor expressed concerns about House Bill 1892, a similar transportation measure Perry later vetoed.
SB 792 is effective immediately.