HBA-DMH H.B. 913 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 913 By: Alexander Transportation 2/12/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is required by federal law, under certain circumstances, to mitigate an adverse environmental impact resulting from highway improvement projects through the creation or maintenance of wetlands or habitat that offsets the loss of the affected ecosystem. If wetlands and habitats affected by a TxDOT project are not within an existing habitat conservation plan, TxDOT must purchase and manage mitigation sites to offset the impact of the project. TxDOT may be able to meet environmental mitigation obligations by paying a fee to a public agency in lieu of purchasing or agreeing to manage mitigation sites, allowing greater flexibility in meeting those obligations. House Bill 913 authorizes TxDOT to pay a fee to an appropriate public agency to meet federally-mandated environmental mitigation standards instead of acquiring and developing or managing mitigation sites. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 913 amends the Transportation Code to authorize the Texas Department of Transportation, if authorized by the applicable regulatory authority, to pay a fee to an appropriate public agency in lieu of acquiring or agreeing to manage property for the mitigation of an adverse environmental impact that is a direct result of a state highway improvement project. EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001.