BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -Brazos County residents could have a new way to fund and plan for local transportation projects in the future. Tuesday morning county commissioners expressed their support for adding on a $10 transportation fee when you register your vehicle each year. They gave their approval for the State Legislature to take up this issue at the next session. Ultimately it would be up to Brazos County voters to decide of they want the fee or not.
Tuesday morning commissioners approved the idea of having the $10 extra fee.
“It is, the showing our support to ask the legislature to pass that and then of course it would have to be passed by the voters in Brazos County,” explained Duane Peters, Brazos County Judge.
“You know the RMA , the Regional Mobility Authority was created last year. There’s no funding associated with it to move it forward,” said Peters.
State Rep. John Raney and other local leaders are in favor of the idea. They plan to introduce legislation again after it didn’t make it through the Senate last session.
“I think it’s an excellent opportunity for us to improve transportation in Brazos County and I support it wholeheartedly,” said Raney, (R) – District 14.
Raney thinks there’s a good chance it will pass if voters have the final say if they want it or not.
“We need to make sure that transportation in Brazos County meets the needs of our citizens,” said Raney.
“Well what it really does, it provides us the opportunities to do the studies that will develop the transportation plan,” he said.
Dan Rudge with the Bryan / College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization said the added fee could bring our Regional Mobility Authority $1.6 million to $2 million annually.
“The vehicle registration fee would allow the RMA to work with the MPO to identity specific transportation projects that we might not be able to afford as an MPO or that we want to accelerate as an MPO,” said Rudge. “It’s money that would be available in later years or it’s a project that we just couldn’t afford with MPO funding.”
They say other funding options like more toll roads or raising the gas tax aren’t very popular, so they think this will be a new way to address some of our transportation challenges.
“We can have a funding source to try to get something done,” said Peters.
Since the legislation still has to go through Austin to become law, it’s not clear if or when voters would be able to vote on a new fee here. We’re told legislation will be filed in both the house and senate on the first day that can be done.
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