House attempts to approve transportation funding

CHRIS TOMLINSON, Associated Press   AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas House is expected to make another attempt to approve a new funding mechanism for highways and bridges. Lawmakers will convene Thursday afternoon to vote on a constitutional amendment to divert money from the Rainy Day Fund into a new transportation fund. Constitutional amendments need 100 votes from the House to go to voters for final approval. Only 92 lawmakers supported the measure in an interim vote on Monday. Experts say Texas needs a $4 billion a year in new spending to maintain the existing transportation system. The new fund would bring in about $900 million a year. But tea party groups don’t want to divert money from the state’s Rainy Day Fund, and they don’t want to raise taxes. Democrats want more spending in other areas too.