Senator Zaffirini: Additional $250 Million Proposed for Texas Highways in Energy-Producing Regions

AUSTIN—An additional $250 million may be available for Texas highways impacted by energy sector traffic, Senator Judith Zaffirini announced today (Tuesday).

It would fund 70 maintenance and repair projects statewide, including 25 in 9 Senate District (SD) 21 counties, namely, Atascosa, Duval, Guadalupe, Karnes, La Salle, Live Oak, McMullen, Wilson and Webb.

At the recent hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Transportation Funding, Senator Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, chair, directed the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to request the funding for 70 projects that had not been funded in the appropriations bill. On Oct. 9 the agency made the request to the Legislative Budget Board (LBB), which must approve it.

A member of the LBB and of the Senate Finance and Select Transportation Funding Committees and Chair of the Senate Government Organization Committee, Senator Zaffirini said funds “are long overdue and will not only improve safety on our overburdened roadways, but also will support our vital agriculture and energy industries.”

The repairs are necessary because of the extremely high volume of oil and gas industry truck traffic in Senate District 21, which includes the majority of rigs, the majority of production and the top-producing counties in the Eagle Ford Shale.

Despite the fact that oil and gas development in the Eagle Ford Shale contributed more than $1.24 billion in state revenue in 2012 alone, TxDOT has proposed converting some paved state highways in the shale region to unpaved roads.

Senator Zaffirini, concerned about the plan’s impact on the safety and prosperity of rural Texans, has championed seeking alternative solutions. The Eagle Ford Shale Legislative Caucus, of which she is an organizer, hosted a town hall meeting in Cotulla on Sept. 10 for citizens to ask questions of TxDOT officials about the proposal.

“Many of us were concerned that TxDOT would convert more paved roads to unpaved roads immediately,” Senator Zaffirini said. “At our transportation funding hearing, however, Phil Wilson, director, said the agency would collaborate with local officials and legislators before proceeding.

“Extending the moratorium will give communities more time to seek alternatives, including negotiating stakeholder donation agreements and securing grant funding via county energy transportation reinvestment zones.”

The $250 million is in addition to $225 million for 39 energy sector-impacted state highway projects that the Texas Legislature approved during the 83rd Texas Legislative Session. House Bill 1025 included more than $128 million for 19 state highway projects in 6 SD 21 counties, namely, Atascosa, Bee, Karnes, La Salle, Live Oak and McMullen. The bill also included $225 million for Texas county roads impacted by energy development.

Senator Zaffirini Announces Mobile Election ID Stations Coming to Laredo, Bruni, Mirando City and Rio Bravo

Senator Zaffirini Announces Mobile Election ID Stations Coming to
Laredo, Bruni, Mirando City and Rio Bravo

(AUSTIN) —Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, today (Tuesday) announced that Election Identification Certificates (EICs) will be available at mobile stations in Webb County from Wednesday, Oct. 9, through Friday, Oct. 11.

“Because of the recent implementation of Texas’ new voter ID law, it is critical that all Texas voters have a proper form of identification before going to the polls this November,” Senator Zaffirini said. “The EIC is one of seven forms of ID that will be accepted.”

EICs are available without charge to qualified Texas voters who do not already have an approved form of photo ID, which is now required for voting in person. The Nov. 5 election will be the first statewide election with photo ID requirements in effect.

“EICs are available from DPS driver’s license offices throughout Texas, but these mobile units will enhance EIC access for South Texas communities,” Senator Zaffirini said. “It is my hope that citizens who need them will visit the stations in Laredo, Bruni, Mirando City and Rio Bravo.”

Many Texans already have an approved form of ID and will not need or qualify for an EIC. Acceptable forms of ID in addition to an EIC are:

  • Texas driver’s license issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
  • United State military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United State citizenship certificated containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport

Applicants for an EIC will need to provide proof of citizenship and identity. For most applicants that means a birth certificate and two forms of supporting identification. A complete list of identification requirements is available via http://www.dps.texas.gov/driverlicense/eicdocreqmnts.htm

The EIC mobile station will be at the following locations during the following times:

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013

9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Rio Bravo Community Center
1600 Orquidia Lane
Rio Bravo, Texas 78046

9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Bruni Community Center
303 12th Street
Rio Bravo, Texas 78046

9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Santa Teresita Community Center
15014 Highway 59
Laredo, Texas 78040

9 a.m.-4 p.m.
F.A. Salinas Community Center
2600 Maryland Avenue
Laredo, Texas 78040

Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013

9 a.m.-4 p.m.
E. Salinas Community Center
917 N. Main Street
Mirando City, Texas 78369

9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Laredo Specialty Hospital
2005 Bustamante Street
Laredo, Texas 78041

9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Doctors Hospital
10700 McPherson Road
Laredo, Texas 78045

9 a.m.-4 p.m.
F. and A. Bruni Community Center
452 W. Rancho Peñitas Road
Laredo, Texas 78045

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Billy Hall Administration Building
1110 Washington Street
Laredo, Texas 78040

11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Providence Health Center
230 Calle del Norte
Laredo, Texas 78041

11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Laredo Medical Center
1700 E. Saunder Street
Laredo, Texas 780441

11 a.m.-7 p.m.
KLDO
222 Bob Bullock Loop
Laredo, Texas 78043