Historic Transportation Accountability Legislation Scheduled for Senate Hearing

(Austin, Texas) This Wednesday, the Senate Transportation Committee will take up House Bill 20, filed by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), and voted out of the House on May 1, 2015 with almost unanimous support. HB 20 seeks to provide a framework to ensure that funds for transportation are administered in an objective and transparent manner with accountability for every dollar spent.

In 2014, Proposition 1 was approved by nearly 80 percent of Texas voters, providing an additional $1.7 billion in transportation funding. However, more funding is needed in order to allow highway construction to keep pace with Texas’ growing population. HB 20 would ensure that the appropriate accountability measures accompany any additional funding increases.

“While there have been numerous efforts to increase transportation funding this session, public concern regarding how and why transportation funds are spent continues to grow. This places the infrastructure needs of the state at odds with the public desire for greater transparency and efficiency,” said Rep. Ron Simmons.

HB 20 requires the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDot) to provide information regarding transportation funding decisions in a manner that is accessible and understandable to the public. HB 20 also requires TxDOT to implement a performance-based planning and programming process to provide the legislature with indicators that quantify and qualify progress toward attaining department goals and objectives. The bill also calls for TxDOT to establish a scoring system to prioritize projects seeking state funding.

"House Bill 20 is about oversight, transparency, and accountability," Simmons concluded.  "As legislators, we have a fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of this great state to ensure tax payer dollars are spent appropriately."