AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Voters have approved a ballot referendum taking billions of dollars from Texas’ Rainy Day Fund for roads and transportation infrastructure projects.
Tuesday’s passage of Proposition 1 creates a constitutional amendment that diverts half the funds that flow into state cash reserves and instead sends them to a highway fund.
Booming oil and gas industries have bolstered the Rainy Day Fund, now worth about $9 billion.
The amendment means up to $1.7 billion for roads the first year. Its value will fluctuate later depending on oil and gas revenues.
Transportation officials have suggested that because of the state’s growing population at least $4 billion in annual spending will be required just to maintain current traffic levels on jammed Texas roads.
But supporters say the measure’s a good start.