Texas State Senator files motor vehicle sales tax bill

AUSTIN — State Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) held a press conference with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick Wednesday to discuss the filing of Senate Bill 5 and Senate Joint Resolution 5, which will constitutionally dedicate a portion of the existing sales tax on new and used automobiles to the State Highway Fund.

“Without adequate and dependable resources, The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will continue to face challenges in constructing and maintaining Texas’ highway infrastructure,” said Nichols. “I appreciate the support of Lt. Governor Patrick on this bill and look forward to continuing our work towards providing adequate transportation infrastructure for Texans.”

Nichols believes there are five critical elements the legislature should look for when identifying additional funding sources for transportation. These include ensuring the funding is predictable, constitutionally dedicated, transportation related, independent of fuel source and able to adjust to inflation. This state motor vehicles sales tax is a revenue stream which meets all of these qualities.

“This is an issue I advocated for during the campaign that received strong support from the voters,” Patrick said.

Conservative forecasts for this revenue stream state it will generate over $2 billion annually. If approved, this proposal will give TxDOT a predictable revenue stream which they can use to implement long-range transportation plans.

“Transportation infrastructure is a core function of government and its funding should be addressed. What could make more sense than to dedicate the tax on a vehicle, you currently pay, to the infrastructure on which it depends. Without roads you don’t needs cars, and without cars you don’t need roads,” Nichols said.

In the Texas Senate, Nichols serves as chairman for the Transportation Committee. He also serves on the Senate Finance, Natural Resources and Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committees. He is a former commissioner for the Texas Department of Transportation