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ArkLaTex In-Depth: Help for highways - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

ArkLaTex In-Depth: Help for highways

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TEXARKANA, Tx. -

There's still no deal for more transportation dollars for Texas roads.

House and Senate leaders sent the measure back to the bargaining table.

In the first special session, the transportation funding plan looked ready for final adoption, but it got stalled amid a Senate filibuster on abortion restrictions.

This is the third time this year for lawmakers to address possible funding solutions for transportation repairs and maintenance.

While there is broad agreement among legislators on the need for more road money, there has been much disagreement over how to appropriate the funds.

The amendment would nullify about $800 million dollars annually from state gasoline taxes that currently goes to public education, instead spending it on roads.

Those education dollars would be replaced by $800 million dollars from the "Rainy Day Fund" contributed by drilling taxes paid by oil and gas companies.

Texas Transportation Department Spokesperson Marcus Sandifer says the need for transportation money is great.

"Inflation, fuel efficient cars, increased populations in the state, it has all worked toward creating more wear and tear on the highway," Sandifer.

While the measure will add millions to the state's highway fund, TXDOT officials have said it's short about $4 billion in extra funding each year to maintain current congestion levels across the state.

In the Northeast Texas region, Sandifer says they have several projects that will have to be placed on hold.

The additional funding could help advance 5 new projects in the Texarkana area.

Those projects include rebuilding, widening and upgrading roadways which include Highways 59, 67, and 82.

"It would go a big step toward helping out, but it won't fund everything," explained Sandifer.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst has appointed a team of negotiators.

Lawmakers want to divert money from the state's rainy day fund, but the senate wants to protect the balance from dipping below $6 billion dollars.

Dewhurst says he wants a deal by the end of next week.

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