JIM VERTUNO, Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Senate has given preliminary approval to taking nearly $1 billion a year from the state’s reserve fund and spending it on transportation. The constitutional amendment, reached on Tuesday, still needs a final vote to send it to the House with one week left in the special session. State transportation leaders say Texas needs to spend $4 billion more a year on transportation to keep up with growth. The Senate plan would divert oil and gas severance taxes collected in the reserve fund toward road building and maintenance. The Senate plan only moves that money if the reserve fund has at least $6 billion. Senators debated whether keeping the minimum amount makes fiscal sense and will result in less money going to transportation. The amendment would need statewide voter approval.