HBA-NRS C.S.S.B. 246 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.S.B. 246 By: Shapleigh Transportation 5/18/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Adequate transportation infrastructure along the Texas-Mexico border is critical to a prosperous state economy. C.S.S.B. 246 requires the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to develop recommendations for how state resources in TxDOT's border districts should be allocated to facilitate international trade. 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 C.S.S.B. 246 amends the Transportation Code to authorize the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to develop recommendations, as part of its annual review of proposed road projects used to determine whether the projects are adequate to meet the need for the projected volume of highway traffic resulting from international trade, on how TxDOT resources may be used in TxDOT's districts adjacent to the border with Mexico to facilitate international trade. The bill authorizes TxDOT to contract with a public senior college or a university for assistance in preparing all of or a portion of the review. The bill provides that the recommendations must include suggestions concerning transportation linkages between national and international markets and the area adjacent to the border with Mexico, including rural communities in that area and strategies to eliminate congestion at international border crossings. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.S.B. 246 modifies the original bill to remove the provision set forth in the original that the Center for Transportation Research at the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Transportation Institute cooperate with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in developing recommendations. The substitute modifies the original bill to allow TxDOT to contract with any public senior college or university to review proposed roadway projects. The substitute authorizes, rather than requires, TxDOT to develop recommendations concerning how TxDOT resources, rather than state and federal highway funds or resources, may be used in TxDOT's border districts to facilitate international trade. The substitute includes TxDOT's district office in Odessa as an office for which TxDOT may develop recommendations. The original bill only applied to the Pharr, Laredo, and El Paso district offices. The substitute removes the provision contained in the original stating that the recommendations must include revisions to TxDOT's funding formulas to increase funding to the Pharr, Laredo, and El Paso districts of TxDOT.