The House Committee on Transportation met on April 26th to hear invited and public testimony on the following interim charges. A link to the video archive of the hearing can be found here.

  • Oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 87th Legislature:
    • HB 2219, relating to the issuance of Texas Mobility Fund obligations
    • HB 3514, relating to the functions of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV)
    • HB 3927, relating to temporary motor vehicle tags.
  • Study current and future transportation needs and consider improvements to ensure that Texas is adequately planning for the state’s population growth forecasts. Evaluate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on transportation projects and investment decisions.
  • Study the impact of the increasing sale and use of electric and alternatively fueled vehicles on revenue predictions for the state highway fund. Recommend a road use revenue equalization methodology to create fairness and parity between gasoline, electric and alternatively fueled vehicles.
  • Review the state’s work in transportation safety.


This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.


Opening Comments

  • Chair Terry Canales – Had one of the worst transportation fatality rates last year, know that slower speeds, tech, etc. can save lives


Review the state’s work in transportation safety – Invited Testimony

Mark Williams, Executive Director TxDOT

  • Last year was not a good year, second highest year on record for fatalities; state was making steady progress to reducing fatalities recently, but during pandemic 2020-21 saw a 24% increase in road fatalities


Lance Simmons, TxDOT

  • Improving road safety is a team effort, focused on engineering, education, and enforcement
  • Discusses high rate of fatalities in 2021, seeing risky driving behaviors increasing like speeding, impaired driving, distracted driving
  • Most fatalities are related to speed, working to evaluate speed limits and increase awareness, implementing engineering solutions on roundabouts, etc.
  • 27% of total crash fatalities were unrestrained, seatbelt usage was 89% in 2021 and first time state has fallen below 90% in recent years; 10% not wearing seatbelts account for 46% of all road fatalities
  • Alcohol and drug use/impaired driving increased in 2021, continuing the impaired driving campaign
  • Highlights funding for road safety and education programs under TxDOT
  • Motorcycles are overrepresented in fatalities compared to population of riders, increased in 2021; continuing motorcycle safety campaigns
  • TxDOT evaluates rural highways for safety and is developing a program for urban roadways
  • HB 3282 is a new tool which allows TxDOT to lower speed limit temporarily without TTC approval due to maintenance work


Laura Ryan, TxDOT

  • Highlights TxDOT’s efforts to increase road safety, working to improve TxDOT’s culture of safety, incl. new engineering measures, education, and agency partnerships
  • Goals incl. fatality reduction by 50% by 2035
  • Provided safety countermeasure funding in the UTP, task force was created in 2021 to address increase, proposing to include a new category in the UTP for discretionary safety improvement funds for proven engineering projects
  • Highlights importance of personal responsibility in driving decisions, 2035 goals could have been met with different driving decisions


Questions for TxDOT Panel

  • Canales – Are we seeing positive impact from the funds spent for outreach?
    • Simmons, TxDOT – We think so, have multiple avenues to expand outreach
  • Canales – Have we updated any of our driver’s ed courses? Victim impact material?
    • Williams, TxDOT – A lot of this falls on DPS, DPS has been very active with the safety task force and recognizing some of these issues; TxDOT working with others to hone messages
  • Canales – Hearing from many that we don’t see DPS troopers as much as we used to; presence of law enforcement affects driving habits
    • Simmons – Heard these same things, heard issues from DPS
  • Canales – Regarding troopers in the RGV, are we seeing less accidents?
    • Williams – Have actually seen an increase in accidents in the RGV over the last year
    • Anecdotally, lack of enforcement does affect driving conditions, speeding
  • Canales – Asks for information on what proportion of fatalities are due to high-speed chases or law enforcement activity
  • Ed Thompson – On reducing speed on two-lane highways, we have passing lanes on some of these; would like information on difference in fatalities between regular two-lane highways and those with passing lanes
  • Thompson highlights that many safety engineering projects can take a long time to develop, red tape can get in the way of addressing safety issues on roadways
  • John Bucy – On seatbelts and unrestrained fatalities, is it younger drivers, older drivers?
    • Simmons – Crosses all demographics, try to focus on every age range and geographic area
  • Bucy – What about past offenders?
    • Will go through this exercise, DPS would likely be glad to share
  • Mary Ann Perez – How many fatalities are due to road rage?
    • One of the risky behaviors we’re seeing across the state, seeing lots of poor decisions from drivers right now
  • Canales – Many don’t know how to deal with road rage
    • Ryan, TxDOT – Spoke a lot about this at the forum, had a psychologist to talk about the mindset and road rage; part of the resolution is education and part is messaging


HB 2219, relating to the issuance of Texas Mobility Fund obligations

HB 3514, relating to the functions of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV)

HB 3927, relating to temporary motor vehicle tags

  • Canales – All are aware of the temp tag issue, rules were implemented to shut off criminal access to temp tags in hours
  • Will hear from DMV on measures taken to put an end to exploitation of paper tags, will hear from law enforcement, and solutions


HB 2219, relating to the issuance of Texas Mobility Fund obligations

Brian Barth, TxDOT

  • Provides an overview of the Texas Mobility Fund (TMF), amount of bonds based on revenue estimate certified by the Comptroller, 110% of the debt service, maximum maturity is 30 years
  • Administered by the TTC used to fund state highways and public highways
  • $7.4b issued in bonds, remaining principle is $5.8b
  • Based on revised 2021 Comptroller estimate, current capacity is $2b, previously estimated $3b during the session
  • Will be programed in the 2023 UTP which is voted on this August, accounting for additional revenue in the project forecast
  • Bond capacity is subject to change and could be higher or lower, ability to issue bonds remains at TTC’s discretion, reviewable by BRB
  • Better to not issue bonds until ready to spend on projects
  • Thompson – Bond issuance was turned off, then it was turned back on, but it was turned off for a reason and nothing done this last session to put guardrails or address previous issue; there should be some guardrails in the way these bonds are done, no issue with the UTP
  • Canales – We put a cap on how much we could bond and there was an end date
    • Barth, TxDOT – Yes, $3.6b cap, and Sunset date Jan 1, 2027
  • Canales – Previously we had no Sunset and now there is a bond limit
  • Thompson – My concern is the use of the bonds & being good stewards of tax money; not objecting to the fund or principle, just want to make sure funds are used for projects and used for Fund 6 expenses, don’t want to see the
    • TxDOT is interested in spending these TMF funds on highways
  • Canales – One of the issues raised during session was the rising cost of infrastructure expenditure, costs rising & bonds give ability to build now
  • Thompson – Don’t disagree


HB 3514, relating to the functions of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV)

Daniel Avita, Acting Executive Director TxDMV

  • HB 3514 implementation, lemon law issue, etc. is in progress
  • Canales – Appreciate your brevity on this bill


HB 3927, relating to temporary motor vehicle tags

Daniel Avita, Acting Executive Director TxDMV

  • Now speaking on implementation update on HB 3927
  • Provides overview of temp tag process, issued between sale and completion of title transfer/registration, good for 60 days
  • In recent years, bad actors and criminal organizations have found loopholes via stolen identities and false documentation, then use vehicles with temp tags to commit crimes, avoid inspections, etc.
  • HB 3927 provided DMV with he ability to verify temp tags and combat abuse, placed annual limit on temp tags available to dealers, can request limit increase once they’ve used 50% of their allotment
  • Also provided DMV with ability to shut off dealer’s access to eTAG system when fraudulent activity was detected; licensees will still receive benefit of thorough investigation
  • Rule was effective in Jan, to date has been used to revoke access to 30 licensees
  • Have heard from LEOs that HB 3927 has interrupted criminal activity
  • To stay ahead of fraudulent activity, process for obtaining 72 hour and 144 hour permits was changed as well
  • TxDMV posted rule proposals for applicants to be fingerprinted, would allow for criminal history checks and rigorous checking process; LEOs say should address more than 90% of fraudulent system entry
  • Also working to enhance system security and access to the system, streamlining motor vehicle data, and working with stakeholders and LEO partners to look at design and production of temp tags
  • Canales – Appreciates efforts to address this, believes this issue led to predecessors leaving the agency
  • Canales – Provided the tools, but took TxDMV 7-8 months to start addressing this issue, the question is why? At some point someone needs to speak to this & why media needed to bring this to the legislature’s attention
    • Avita, TxDMV – Temp tags were a priority prior to me taking over the agency, but were a priority among many others
    • Formed a focus group to address this issue
    • Media and LEOs being unhappy with TxDMV were helpful to address the issue
  • Canales – Doesn’t answer the question of why it took so long, understand that team was formed to address this but questions why it wasn’t done 8 months before this; if you can’t answer now this is fine, but would like an answer
    • Process for rulemaking can be challenging
  • Yvonne Davis – Dallas County system was shut down for an extended period, have not received any info on what happened and what is happening to ensure this doesn’t happen again
    • This issue was related to a vendor having systems down that day which impacted our system and the county’s
    • Working daily to improve our services
  • Davis – Asks Avita to get back to her with plans put in place to address this, was expecting info from a working group but did not receive this
  • Trent Ashby – You mentioned you improved fraudulent tags being issued and fingerprinting will prevent remaining 90% of issues?
    • Yes, also heard this from various LEOs, percentage relayed back was between 90%-99%
  • Ashby – Can you address some of the new tech that can help?
    • Have reached out to all 50 states on best business practices on temp tags, could mean that a temp tag redesign might be in order; looking at enhanced features like QR codes, varying colors, stickers
    • Have been meeting with vendors throughout the industry
    • Will be working with tax-assessor collectors, LEOs, etc.
  • Thompson – TxDMV has the rulemaking ability to enact these? Is there a need for legislation?
    • Believes they have the ability
  • Thompson – Are you background checking fingerprints?
    • With fingerprinting comes an expansive background check, will be follow up as well
  • Thompson – Does your software have the ability to look at specific dealers?
    • Yes, we do now


Floyd Goodwin, DPS

  • DPS is responsible for investigating fraud as part of Special Investigations
  • Provides overview of DPS process for investigating at traffic stops, can verify car attributes, owner details, etc.
  • Fraudulent tags are often used because it gets in the way of identification and verification of vehicle and driver data
  • HB 3927 gives DMV great control over dealer issuance of temp tags, should impede criminal’s ability to exploit fraudulent temp tags
  • Canales – HB 3927 makes good improvements, but isn’t the be all end all; what tools do you need to address this issue?
    • DMV has been moving in the right direction, meeting with us, getting involved in Texas Fusion Center; this will all help
  • Canales – Is there any issue with communication between DMV and DPS? Anything legislature can do to help bridge that gap? Is there a liaison between the two agencies?
    • Yes, I believe this is being addressed; DMV involvement with ITC and Texas Fusion center should address communication issues
  • Canales – Is there anything we can help you with in these encounters?
    • Streamlining process getting info between one agency and another, DMV participation will help
  • Canales – Legislature wants to help you solve this problem


Precinct 3 Constable’s Office, Travis County

  • HB 3927 has stopped the bleeding but still need to address the problem; stems from a failure in the DMV web dealer system
  • Problem has extended beyond Texas, to South America, Canada, etc.; here today due to the media reports
  • Highlights TLETS, tags are run through this system wherever they are seen, fraudulent tag records are uploaded daily & affect all LEOs around the country
  • No checks & balances on buyer’s tags, inventory tags, 30-day permits, 72 hour & 144 hour permit; easy to get 144 hour tag from anywhere in the country for a CV and be on the highway
  • TxDMV has 24 investigators to oversee 24k dealers, not just dealing with the tag issue
  • TxDMV leadership has been trying very hard over the last 3 months, one part of the solution is fingerprinting, vendors easily able to handle inflow from 24k dealers
  • Recommendations: should verify all generated VIN numbers through TLETS, should have immediate access for LEOs to the eTAG system, in-person dealership notification, eliminate the “ghost tags,” need to incorporate basic training TCOLE class for all LEOs, restore funding for county task force, charge fees earlier to deter bad actors
  • Nuclear option is to scrap the entire system
  • Canales – Do we need to do something on fingerprinting?
    • My understanding is you can do it now, but this is only part of the solution
  • Canales – Reported to my office that it can be done now as well
  • Canales – How do we verify all generated VIN numbers
    • Carfax will not accept incorrect VIN numbers and they get their info from the state; should be able to have a verification system at the DMV
  • Canales – Possible without legislative action to get this to happen?
    • Yes
  • Canales – In-person dealer verification?
    • Similar to firearms applications, etc.; location will be difficult due to number, but possible
  • Canales – TCOLE training? Any mandatory TCOLE training? Should there be
    • There is not and there should be
  • Canales – Can you talk about Gov. Abbott defunding the task force?
    • Had a fully-funded task force in 2017, but defunded in 2018 due to other programs
  • Canales – So could be a byproduct, reality is we should fund it?
    • Yes, should at least fund the Local Initiative Projects (LIP) program
  • Canales – Do want a shortlist of things we can do now, seems like a lot of these can be done by the agencies with authority
  • Perez – Whose job is it to verify that these are actual businesses?
    • TxDMV investigators do this, they have 24 versus 24k dealers, they are short
  • Thompson – On the LIP program, is that the anti-theft dollars paid on insurance?
    • I don’t think so
  • Thompson – Where did funding come from for this
    • Initially HB 2321, part of the bill was the LIP program & funding for LEOs
  • Thompson – My staff is telling me that was line item vetoed, will need to talk to the Governor about it
  • Cody Harris – Cost is born by licensees to go through a process, would assume dealers would shoulder the cost; what’s the hold up?
    • Don’t know, done through the TxDMV, have wanted them to do this
  • Canales – Communication with the agencies are done how?
    • Teams, writing, email, etc.; have another meeting soon on the “ghost tags”


Study current and future transportation needs and consider improvements to ensure that Texas is adequately planning for the state’s population growth forecasts. Evaluate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on transportation projects and investment decisions.

  • Canales – Traffic on state highway system is growing with state growth, cannot pave enough highways to address need
  • Gas tax is not taking care of this; EVs, etc. don’t contribute to this but will be looking at this and fixing this problem next session
  • One of the legislature’s failures is failure to index these types of issues; Prop 1 and Prop 7 helped fix this, but Prop 1 is extremely volatile
  • Question is if Texas is prepared for the Transportation needs of the future, will be hearing from some with expertise


Lloyd Potter, Texas State Demographer

  • Presents slides on population increase between 2010 and 2020, no other state added more than Texas in this period, 29m in 2021, 16% over last decade
  • Seeing that Texas is continuing to grow
  • Texas is continuing to grow, added 310k in one year
  • Domestic migration hits infrastructure quickly
  • Fastest growing counties growth is from domestic migration
  • Harris and Dallas County in 2021 lost population
  • Significant population growth from people moving to the area, notes people bring their cars
  • Digressed a bit to say we may need a wall of some sort on the south side of border and then moved back to talking points


Mark Williams, Executive Director with TxDOT

  • Anticipate a 47% increase, from 331 million to 389 million with a growth of over 69% expected in Texas which outpaces growth in US
  • Texas has to address continuing growth
  • Vehicle Miles of Travel (VMT) growth – domestic migration means increase in travel on highway with growth anticipated at 56%
  • Significant increase in freight and delivery systems
  • Texas Transportation plan is a long term plan and beginning to work on next update
  • Seeing diminishing value in purchase power
  • While have 66% more motor fuel tax revenue, effective buying power is 33% less due to inflation
  • Adequate and predictable funding is essential and think lege for support of Prop 1 and Prop 7
  • Prop 1 and Prop 7 begins to expire in a few more years, may need to adjust plan if props are not extended so they will keep monitoring as they progress
  • Ashby – Reference to TERP funding, can you quantify the amount of addition per year?
    • Last session bill passage means they now receive back $90 million a year out of TERP to address congestion, air quality, and traffic in areas that are non-attainment
  • Thompson – Asked about federal infrastructure bill funding
    • Have not quantified changes, may be rulemaking process to follow
  • Canales – discusses increase in Electric Vehicles, concern on impact on motor fuel taxes and discusses vehicle lane mile travel asked if TxDOT could implement a pilot program?
    • If legislature passed that and wanted them to do that, they could work with legislature on it
    • There are other states that are implementing pilot projects
    • Understands the revenue is not keeping up with demand
  • Can provide committee details on all funding they receive and restrictions that come with it


Peyton McKnight, American Council of Engineering Companies of Texas

  • Present written material on funding needs, infrastructure need; funding gap grows to $7b in 2023, will grow even more with inflation
  • Props 1 & 7 were wonderful, roughly 30% of TxDOT’s funding
  • Reliability of funding is very important; legislature will need to take measures to address this
  • Gas tax hasn’t been raised since 91
  • Lozano – Since 91 it hasn’t been raised? What would it be if you indexed it?
    • Depends on what you index it to, CPI, etc.; but has been flat since 91
  • Canales – People like getting re-elected though


David Schrank, Texas A&M Transportation Institute

  • Testifying on 10-20 year look on pavement conditions, population & vehicle miles traveled have grown
  • Since 2010 pavements & bridge condition has gotten better, congestion has gotten worse
  • Effort underway to address congestion and bottlenecks (Texas Clear Lanes) is in its infancy and most projects are just starting or not started
  • TxDOT expenditures are up 140% since 2010, largely due to Prop 1 & 7
  • Need to make more progress on pavement and bridge condition
  • Possible solutions are to address demand side with flexible hours, other aspects like wreck clear time, traffic signal timing, etc.
  • Should provide more choices such as managed lanes, bike lanes, etc.
  • Should look at land use, moving jobs & homes closer together


Michael Morris, North Central Texas Council of Governments

  • 10% of Texas Repair & Replace program for local initiatives, $6 fee in a nonattainment area, proceeds are used for budget certification and could be returned to region to self-fund enforcement program
  • Traffic and travel are increasingly significantly; ground transportation, highway, etc. traffic is now back, would be even higher with lower fuel prices
  • Need more transportation funding and to give TxDOT funding tools back
  • Recommendations: cost of inflation is increasing faster than ability of legislature to chase the large transportation projects
  • Support megaregions and efficiency these regions can bring, optimize safety, optimize capacity
  • Should support air travel for long distances, rail for middle distances; will free up capacity on intercity distances
  • Should review mobility trends in metropolitan areas over the last 10-15 years, trends are not the same between locations
  • Should encourage public sector to take risks with emerging technologies, i.e. broadband as a transportation mode giving access to right-of-way, building highways with expansion in mind, mobile induction recharging
  • Should help urban regions with externalities like safety, air quality, congestion, etc.
  • Not adequately funding transportation, leading to local bond programs & higher taxes
  • Best thing legislature can do is create a marketplace for best & brightest across the state to innovate and develop projects for their communities
  • Bucy – Can you provide details on the induction system?
    • Have two, one project on goods movement one an advanced people mover system
    • Testing different OEM vehicles to test induction capabilities
    • Need to build this capacity into the freeways today
  • Bucy – Talking about a major overhaul
    • Would probably need to retrofit
  • Bucy – Want to bring IT caucus to see your plans


Mario Delgado, Texas Transit Association

  • Transit Association cannot help building roads, but can assist with demand side issues
  • Highlights local initiatives like bike lanes, sidewalks, innovative tech pilots; transit agencies also act as first responders in emergencies
  • CDL driver shortages are faced by many transit agencies, trying to locate funding for new projects
  • Trying to find solutions, funding is one aspect & believe transit agencies could be an ally to the state


Tom Lambert, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County

  • Need to look at multi-modal communities, must include transit and other options like sidewalks
  • Highlights need to work with transit partners, fund projects adequately
  • Highlights diverse role of Houston METRO, extends beyond buses and trains
  • Transit is looking at innovative tech solutions, starting a program called Curb-to-Curb that will do pickups within a 5 mile radius, expanding bus rapid transit, buying electric buses


Peter LeCody, Texas Rail Advocates

  • Other states are looking to access $33b in rail funding, Texas can take advantage of this by matching 20%-30%
  • Appropriated Fund 306 Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund could assist with this, but has not been funded; could be used to Relocate rails, improve air quality be increasing rail transit, work on cross-border service, etc.
  • Can get proceeds from bonds, legislative appropriations
  • TERP could also be utilized in urban areas for rail; highlights Texas Rail Plan
  • Amtrak wants to see more rail in Texas, could assist in areas like I-35 corridor between San Antonio and Dallas; Amtrak would pay for capital improvements on the commercial lines and would share operating cost at the beginning
  • Other states like Louisiana and Oklahoma in the area are acting on rail routes


Paul Treangen, TNW Corporation, Texas Short Line & Regional Railroad Association

  • Provides overview of TNW Corporation short line and regional railroads, and TSLRRA operations in supporting local and regional transit
  • Short line and regional railroads stem largely from purchases of rail lines after industry deregulation; connect first and last mile segments
  • Highlights tools to attract rail like investment tax credits, matching loans & grants; asking for assistance from the legislature in exploring options to make rail happen


Study the impact of the increasing sale and use of electric and alternatively fueled vehicles on revenue predictions for the state highway fund. Recommend a road use revenue equalization methodology to create fairness and parity between gasoline, electric and alternatively fueled vehicles.

  • Canales – Will pass a bill on the issue next session; EVs pay sales tax on electricity, but don’t contribute to SHF when they recharge, portion of market is growing
  • Some want flat rate now, some have suggested mileage based charge


Roland Luna, TxDMV

  • Registered AFVs increased 51% over last 2 years, but only 1.3% vehicles registered in the state, EVs account for 18% of this
  • 31 states levy a fixed AFV registration at approx. $120/year; can be predictable for vehicle owners and can be indexed to inflation to maintain value over time
  • Other option is a vehicles usage tax that aligns with actual usage, but can be much more unpredictable and difficult to implement
  • Can also implement combos of these two options; revenue for registration fees could be $26m now
  • AFV report presents other options, but these are outside the expertise of TxDMV
  • Canales – $26m is very small right now, but will increase exponentially and we need to solve it now
    • Yes, AFV growth increases dramatically, especially for EVs
  • Canales – If we don’t index something like this, end up with a shortfall
  • Perez – How did you calculate the fixed registration number?
    • Multiple agencies worked together and considered data from 29 states with fixed fees, $70 for state tax and $140 for state & federal
  • Canales – EV has a significant weight difference than other vehicles due to batteries
    • Can look into this and circle back
  • Thompson – Couldn’t we do something similar with how we do weight for gasoline engines; e.g. a 6k lb. EV and a 20k lb. EV would pay a different fee?
    • Yes, have weight based registration now due to weight of vehicle, but not accounting for usage of roads


Drew Campbell, Transportation Advocates of Texas

  • 30 states have implemented a fee of $125 on average, no EV fee at the federal level
  • Current gasoline tax is no longer viable, no longer keeping up with transportation dollars needed
  • Ashby – So there’s no federal fee at all?
    • No
  • Ashby – Is there any conversation about that?
    • Lots of discussion, but nothing yet
  • Canales – There’s actually an incentive of $7.5k & a Texas grant that offsets up to 16 years of these type of registration fees


Tom “Smitty” Smith, TxETRA

  • In a deep hole in terms of transportation funding, increasing funding on EVs isn’t going to solve that problem
  • At this point, about $240m in the hole due to increased fuel economy standards, standards and MPG are increasing and revenue made off of any new car is shrinking dramatically
  • Systemically should do the fee on a vehicle-mile travelled basis, equitable approach
  • EVs are driving a significant industrial boom in Texas
  • Should set a fee based on new car standards per mile, but not all EVs are driven as much as others; should be set on number of miles traveled by the vehicle last year at time of inspection, based on fleet economy, times the state gas rate
  • EVs are more expensive generally, also pay sales tax on electricity; purpose of incentives are to meet air quality standards
  • Creating a separate class of fees for EVs not based on others, becomes a suspect class and could see a constitutional challenge
  • EV sales are growing significantly; should test the fee concept at this point while we still have a small number
  • EVs are heavier, Tesla weighs about as much as a V8 Impala; we currently have fees that account for weight
  • Hybrids do pay gas taxes
  • Canales – No one here believes we will fund transportation system with EVs, but we do have a growing issue & next generation will be buying EVs
  • Canales – What about a hybrid of both these ideas, a flat fee that’s a baseline tacked to estimated amount EVs travel and when you check in, if you have more you pay a greater amount
    • Something that should be looked at
    • Biggest adopters of EVs are the commercial transit operators; also opportunities to train commercial vehicles together and eliminate
  • Canales – We have enough issues keeping the lights on, powering entire commercial fleet not happening any time soon
  • Perez – Mentioned cars will get to 40 MPG, how soon are we to that?
    • Just now getting there, new target for all new cars next year
  • Now making a big effort in the state to create jobs for EV manufacturing, if we actively recruit GM, Toyota, etc. could be an economic boon and eliminate large amounts of pollution; don’t want to tax ourselves out of being economically viable


Zach Kahn, Tesla

  • Gas tax serves multiple policy functions, supports infrastructure, but also incentivizes people to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles
  • Major shortfall for infrastructure funding is not EV adoption, but that gas tax is not indexed to inflation; would have double the funding if it was indexed
  • In Texas EV drivers already pay a tax on fuel through sales tax for electricity, estimated at $40/year
  • Tesla is not opposed to EV fees to compensate for lost gas tax revenue, opposed to unfair fees that disincentivize purchasing EVs; loss of funding from EVs in any state currently is de minimis
  • Annual fee formula could make sense, along with changes to the gas tax; charge each model relative to what they would’ve paid under the gas tax
  • Several states have adopted pilot projects for VMT, federal study as well with a 24-month timeline to move to a national VMT program; Texas should study various state programs
  • Canales – Tesla is greatly invited to engage, didn’t engage last session and were subversive instead
  • Canales – You mentioned the $40 fee, you have a vested interest, not sure where this goes but doesn’t go into the transportation system; doesn’t fall into the accounting we’re trying to solve when it comes to road consumption


John Stevenson, Rivian Automotive

  • Provides overview of Rivian Automotive
  • As cars become more fuel efficient and electrified, gas taxes are not sustaining infrastructure costs; Rivian believes in fair charges for road use
  • Road usage charge ultimately needs to apply to all vehicles, not just EVs
  • A number of states impose flat rates, roughly $100-$110, vary greatly and some indexed to CPI
  • Flat fees are easy to administer, but not the best proxy for making up for the gas tax as it forces all EV owners to pay the same regardless of usage while the gas tax is more closely tied to driving habits
  • Unreasonably high fee could dampen EV purchases while more vehicles are being produced
  • Committee should consider any type of federal action, Texas would need to adjust its fee as needed
  • Many states have studies road usage, would be supportive of a pilot to study what is best for Texas
  • There are ancillary benefits to basing fees on usage like pay as you go insurance, easier parking payments, better traffic management, etc.
  • Federal funding is available for pilot programs, up to 80% & Texas could take advantage


Cyrus Reed, Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter

  • Drove 10k miles with an EV in 16 months, 150/week and this is about the charge for the Nissan Leaf
  • Sales tax paid on electricity in Austin goes to Austin Energy
  • Would be paying about $40/year gas tax for a fuel vehicle; VMT is the better option for EV fees going forward


Ryan Gallentine, Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance

  • EV industry accounts for 7% of Texas’ advanced energy industry, EV use has the potential to save the state billions in health care costs due to lowered emissions
  • EVs have ability to discharge electricity back to the grid, in aggregate could support grid in case of blackouts
  • Fees on vehicles shouldn’t unduly burden the industry
  • EVs contribute to infrastructure via fees and tolls
  • Highlights Colorado’s SB 260 from 2021, indexes gas tax to inflation & includes a hybrid fee approach
  • Canales – Colorado is only able to do this because of the legalization of marijuana
    • Maybe something to look at as well


Christopher Mayorga, Rewiring America

  • Purchasing an EV helped with maintenance costs associated with fuel vehicles
  • Highlights written info on statistics showing EVs are cheaper to drive, part gas prices, part that EVs have less moving parts
  • EV use also has public health benefits, $1 trillion in health care cost savings nationwide
  • High EV charges could price EVs out of reach of lower income individuals


Future Planning Public Testimony

Cyrus Reed, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

  • As we think about the future, need to think about climate change, extreme weather and how to adapt
  • Texas is getting more money than any other state for things like congestion mitigation, also getting $123 million in a new pot of money through the infrastructure bill that can be used for multi-modal transport and other things


Jay Blazek Crossley, Farm&City

  • We need better information to make planning decisions in the state, lacking in the analysis of data and who is being listened to
  • Many areas throughout the transportation feedback system where there isn’t equal representation, e.g. rural areas attached to large urban areas like Harris County
  • Regional Growth Forecasts are developed based on previous transportation plan and housing needs, could assess based on multiple reasonable futures with planning for different areas people may live in


Temp Tag Public Testimony

Ronnie Keister, Tax Assessor-Collector Association of Texas

  • TACA looked into temp tags, DMV is trying to stop activity and pull access down, but another pops up soon after
  • Could move away from paper plates and go to metal plates as they are harder to copy, discussed this with LEOs
  • Color change on the stickers could help send immediate signal
  • Canales – May be able to link to tags to cellphone much like insurance, hunting license, etc.


Michael Bradburn, Travis County Constable Precinct 3 Clean Air Task Force

  • HB 3927 was a success, but not done, last year up to 37% of tags in the DMV system were fraudulent
  • Funding is needed for task forces, DMV, etc.
  • Florida developed an effective system to combat fraudulent tags
  • Canales – Florida already has a system in place that is effective?
    • That’s what we were told, Florida has a minimal issue, temp tags you find online are Texas tags
  • Canales – Asks for more info on the Florida program


Toni Solbrig, Self

  • DMV tag system is full of flaws, son was killed in an accident involving vehicle with fraudulent tags


Transportation Safety Public Testimony

Jay Blazek Crossley, Farm&City

  • TIE estimated economic impact of vehicle crashes @ $38b, if including pain & suffering closer to $200b; exceeds economic impact of other transportation issues
  • Need to think more about speed, roadway design, automated speed enforcement
  • Need shared responsibility and accountability, could develop new laws targeting distracted driving for instance


Committee Adjourned