by State Representative Trent Ashby
After a welcome reprieve from the Capital City, this past week I made my way down to Austin to begin laying the groundwork for the next legislative session by attending my first interim committee hearing.
While there have been a number of House committee hearings over the last week or two, I thought it would be appropriate to feature a committee on which I serve — House Transportation — to provide an overview of the issues we discussed at our interim committee hearing, as well as those we will discuss at a future hearing.
With that, here’s the latest update from your Texas Capitol.
The House Committee on Transportation has jurisdiction over all matters relating to commercial motor vehicles, our state’s roads and bridges, traffic control, and many other areas. While most people associate “transportation” with cars and trucks, the committee also oversees policy on railroads, airports, and the transmission of water in Texas.
This 13-member committee has purview over a number of state agencies, including the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Transportation Commission.
Like many other committees, the House Committee on Transportation has been charged with studying the intended outcome of legislation passed relating to several key issues our state is currently facing. Last week, the Committee held a public hearing to begin the discussion on transportation infrastructure, roadway safety, and fraudulent paper tags.
With nearly 1,000 new Texans moving here every day, the state must take action to improve our transportation infrastructure to keep pace with our rapid population growth. To support the growing transportation needs of Texas, the 87th Legislature passed HB 2219, which reauthorizes the Texas Transportation Commission to access additional funding from vehicle title, inspection, and driver license fees to fund critical transportation projects.
My colleagues and I also heard testimony from TxDOT representatives discussing how the State of Texas can meet the infrastructure needs of a growing population while improving roadway safety.
Another issue the committee has been charged with is examining is the use of fraudulent paper tags. As I’ve discussed in previous columns, the state has seen a dramatic increase in the illegal use of fraudulent paper license plates, which are often linked to criminal activity.
The committee has been charged with monitoring the implementation of HB 3927, which requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to create a system by which the Department can verify, monitor, and limit the number of temporary tags issued throughout the State.
Though this bill has successfully reduced the use of illegal tags, members of this committee will work over the interim to develop additional safeguards to help put a stop to this practice.
Though we covered a lot of ground in our recent hearing, we still have a number of charges to address in future interim hearings. In the months to come, the House Transportation Committee will meet again to discuss issues related to truck transportation and its impact on the supply chain, the impact of increased federal infrastructure funding on Texas projects, and the impact of increased migration across our border at ports and other points of entry.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will be posting regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and sharing information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.
Trent Ashby represents District 57, soon to be District 9, which includes Trinity County, in the Texas Legislature.