Transportation Committee Interim Charges
The 84th Texas Legislative Session came to an end last year. However, the interim period remains busy as Texas House members carry out their duties in their respective committees. As mentioned in last week’s article, the Speaker of the House assigns each committee interim charges outlining the policy objectives for each committee. Throughout the interim, the committees hold hearings where various stakeholders are given the opportunity to provide input as it relates to specific issues. The information gathered during these hearings helps committee members to gain a deeper understanding of the issues affecting the state as well as to determine the course of future legislation.
During the 2015 Legislative Session, addressing the state’s transportation needs was a top priority. Though session has now ended, the members of the Texas House remain focused on continuing to find ways to improve the state’s transportation systems. To achieve this objective, the House Committee on Transportation has been tasked with reviewing the following issues throughout the interim:
1. Study the Texas Department of Transportation’s role in responding to natural disasters, specifically reviewing contraflow lane plans for major routes and technology that can minimize evacuation and travel times.
2. Examine the current framework for designating a project as a tolled road. Consider ways to reduce or eliminate the role of tolled roads in providing congestion relief given recent transportation funding measures approved by the Legislature.
3. Review the state’s statutory and budgetary requirements for design-build contracts, including cost and quantity restrictions, and consider the effect of removing those restrictions.
4. Review the functions of all departments in the Texas Department of Transportation related to alternative modes of transportation and make recommendations to improve their efficiency.
5. Evaluate local transportation funding mechanisms authorized by the state, such as transportation reinvestment zones, to determine their effectiveness. Identify methods for local entities to utilize these tools to improve congestion.
6. Study the current statutory requirements for utility relocation and recommend modifications that will minimize delay times while protecting taxpayers and ratepayers.
7. Review the areas currently designated as oversize or overweight corridors. Make recommendations to ensure that consistent measures are used to determine fee amounts, bond requirements, and gross weights allowable. Identify measures that may be taken to protect the quality of the roadway.
8. Examine innovative transportation technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, to evaluate potential cost savings and ways in which they may reduce traffic congestion, promote safety, and increase economic productivity.
9. Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 84th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee should:
a. consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens;
b. identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate;
c. determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner; and
d. identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs.
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Nueces (Part) County. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 512-463-0672.