HBA-EDN S.B. 1282 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 1282 By: Lucio Economic Development 4/22/2001 Engrossed BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE During the 76th Legislative Interim, the Senate Interim Committee on Border Affairs found that Texas has underutilized marine water ports in its overall transportation plan. Several other states have recognized the importance of port freight infrastructure and have established financing programs for the improvement, expansion, and direct support of their ports. Senate Bill 1282 creates a port access account fund to facilitate regional economic development, international trade, and expedite the flow of NAFTA-related maritime traffic. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Department of Economic Development in SECTION 1 (Section 55.004, Transportation Code) and to the Texas Port Transportation and Economic Development Advisory Committee in SECTION 1 (Section 55.007, Transportation Code) of this bill. ANALYSIS Senate Bill 1282 amends the Transportation Code to create the Texas Port Transportation and Economic Development Funding Program and the port access account fund (fund) in the general revenue fund. The bill requires the Texas Department of Economic Development (department) to fund port transportation or facility projects (project) or port studies from money in the fund and requires money appropriated by the legislature for the implementation and administration of these provisions, interest earned on deposits and investments of the fund, and money received from other sources for port transportation and economic development, to be credited to the fund. The bill authorizes money in the fund to be appropriated only to the department to perform duties and powers concerning port transportation and economic development and to pay the department's expenses incurred in doing so. The bill sets forth projects which are eligible for funding and prohibits the department from funding a project unless an amount at least equal to the amount provided by the department is invested in a project by a port authority or navigation district. The bill authorizes the department to subject a project that receives money to a final audit and authorizes the department to adopt rules and perform other acts necessary or convenient to ensure that the final audits are conducted and that any deficiency or questioned costs noted by the audit are resolved. The bill creates the Texas Port Transportation and Economic Development Advisory Committee (committee) and sets forth provisions regarding the composition and duties of the committee. The bill requires the department, in consultation with the committee, to review the list of projects recommended by the committee to evaluate the economic benefit of each project and to approve projects or studies for funding based on its review. The bill also requires the committee to adopt rules for evaluating projects that may be funded under these provisions. S.B. 1282 requires the committee to prepare a two-year port capital program defining the goals and objectives of the committee concerning the development of port facilities and an intermodal transportation system. The bill sets forth provisions regarding what must be included in the program and requires the committee to update the program annually and to submit the program not later than February 1 of each year to the governor, the lieutenant governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the department. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.