NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - State Senator Robert Nichols of Jacksonville is pushing for passage of an amendment concerning transportation funding. He was in Deep East Texas Friday to explain why.
Nichols is suggesting voters start at the bottom of the amendment ballot and work their way up. The chairman for the Transportation Committee wants voters to say yes to Amendment 7.
"Number 7 is transportation funding," Nichols said. "It's the largest single increase in transportation funding in Texas history."
The amendment's passage would lead to the dedication of over $70 billion dollars to transportation funding over the next 15 years.
"We're going to capture a portion of the existing sales tax and 35 percent of the sales tax you pay on a car or pickup truck," Nichols said. "Start paying off our debt and finally get back to a pay as you go transportation system."
Nichols said the highway funding is needed desperately in East Texas. More state highway improvements would allow the region to keep up with ongoing federal highway projects, like Interstate 69, a planning project Nichols entered 18 years ago.
"There are a lot of businesses that will not locate unless they have close proximity to an interstate, so if you don't have one and you're not close to one you are not even on the radar," Nichols said.
Interstate 69 planning steadily continues in Nacogdoches at the US 59/State Loop 224 South Interchange.
If voters approve Amendment 7 on November 3, the state could start spending $2.5 billion dollars a year on non-toll state roadways.
Early voting on state amendments begins on October 19th, with Election Day on November 3rd.
Another date to save is Sept 3. That's the day of the Texas Department of Transportation's open house on the US 59/State Loop 224 South Interchange.
The meeting is Thursday starting at 4 p.m. at the Nacogdoches County Expo Center.