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Governor Considers Special Session On Highway Funding

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
Jack moved to Dallas after three years at WESH-TV, the NBC affil...
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AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) - Just about every highway in North Texas is clogged.

“I avoid 635 like the plague,” said Lisa Brank of Sunnyvale.

Many of the highways now being expanded will have some toll lanes.  Brank is a pet-sitter who travels throughout the area to get from one job to the next.

“I wouldn’t use the toll lanes,” she said.

Brank said she’s disappointed the state legislature hit a dead end when it came time to approve any new source of funding for highway construction.

“I think they need to start paying attention because it is hard to get around sometimes, especially 75, 635,” Brank said.  “It’s rough.”

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst said “”we almost got there.”

Dewhurst is now waiting to see if it’ll be brought up in a special session.

“I’m hoping the governor puts that on the call so we can address that and finalize that piece too,” Dewhurst said.

On Tuesday, Governor Perry said he also wants to see the state spend more on critical infrastructure, but he wouldn’t commit to asking lawmakers to act on the issue during the special session.

“It’s obviously important,” Perry said.  “That’s one of those that we’re taking a look at as well. “

State Representative Lon Burnam, Democrat of Fort Worth, agrees lawmakers need to do something.

“I think there’s a lot of support for going again to the rainy day fund,” Burnam said.

In the budget just approved by lawmakers, the rainy day fund would still have more than $8 billion by the end of 2015.
Republicans though disagree on whether more of the rainy day fund should be used.

But Lisa Brank wants to drive home this point:

“They need to get something done.”

The Texas Department of Transportation has said it needs an extra $4 billion this session to just keep up with the existing traffic.

But all the agency received is $400 million — and that’s money the state legislature has historically diverted to other parts of the budget.  It’s not new money.

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