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Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security - 81st R.S. (2009)

Committee Members
John Carona, Chair
Tommy Williams, Chair
Kirk Watson, Vice Chair
Wendy Davis
Rodney Ellis
Joan Huffman
Robert Nichols
Florence Shapiro
Eliot Shapleigh
Jeff Wentworth
Charges
• Recommend ways to maximize the contribution of alternative transportation modes and evaluate what impacts they have on congestion and air quality. Identify statutory barriers to reducing transportation's impact on air quality and preventing any restrictions on or loss of federal funds due to air quality. Study the incidence of fraudulent automotive emissions certifications in the state and recommend changes in enforcement which will increase the effectiveness of state emissions regulation and assist in attainment of federal air quality standards.
• Review and make recommendations relating to the Texas Department of Transportation's organizational structure and working relationship with local governments, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Regional Tolling Authorities and Regional Mobility Authorities.
• Recommend improvements to homeland security, including the state's infrastructure and housing recovery operations. Make recommendations for incorporating best practices and addressing any gaps in existing procedures, and disaster preparation and response, including volunteer involvement, evacuation and sheltering and trauma care, and communications interoperability.
• Examine the public policy implications of Comprehensive Development Agreements (CDAs) and recommend whether they should be reauthorized to construct specific roadways.
• Explore the policy implications of transportation reinvestment zones funded by state sales and use taxes as an alternative to public financing of transportation projects.
• Examine transportation funding concepts contained in legislation considered during the 81st Legislature, Regular and Special Sessions. Analyze options and make recommendations relating to historical funding strategies including prioritization of existing revenues, as well as alternative state and local transportation funding concepts. (Joint charge with Senate Finance Committee)
  • Ensure that the pass-through program reimbursements to contractors and local public entities are based on actual project costs and not cost estimates.
  • Prioritize necessary road construction projects and target financing to those segments that affect the largest number of Texans through congestion mitigation.
  • Ensure that Texas receives the best value for its investment. (Subcharges added pursuant to Dewhurst letter dated 4/8/2010.)
• Study and make recommendations to expedite the environmental review process for transportation projects.
• Evaluate the Texas Department of Transportation's policy for permitting overweight vehicles and recommend ways to ensure overweight vehicles do not cause significant damage to the State's roadways and bridges. Examine the limited operation hours and staffing of highway weight stations across the state and consider whether expanded operations or other alternatives would improve compliance with weight restrictions.
• Review the 100 most congested roadway segments and determine if alternative congestion relief modes have been identified to relieve segments in areas where the addition of lanes is not possible. For example, review whether TxDOT and MPOs consider instituting park & rides and encouraging employee flex times to relieve congested roadway segments.
• Evaluate outsourcing at the Texas Department of Transportation, including, but not limited to, engineering services and aerial mapping.
• Review the possible increase in number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers resulting from license suspensions or indigence resulting drivers' inability to pay Driver Responsibility surcharges in light of new Department of Public Safety rules.
• Study and make recommendations for legislation to inform Texans about best practices for hurricane preparation, response, and recovery, including information about basic state operations and pre-designated locations for PODs (Points of Distribution) across the state. Establish procedures and penalties for noncompliance by local jurisdictions that hinder response and recovery efforts.
• Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Transportation & Homeland Security, 81st Legislature, Regular and Called Sessions, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation.
  • Monitor the implementation of gang-related legislation passed during the 81 st Legislature and its impact on drug cartel-related transnational gangs and crime in Texas.

Note:
Transportation subcharges added pursuant to letter from Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst to Senators Ogden and Carona dated 4/8/2010.
Senator Carona, Chair, 1/30/2009-7/14/2010. Senator Williams appointed Chair, 7/14/2010 (Press release, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, 7/14/2010).

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