The 87th Legislative Session opened on January 12, 2021. The Texas economy has felt the impacts of the Coronavirus which made it tough on elected officials in 2021. Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar expected Texas to face a $4.6 billion deficit by the end of the current two-year budget cycle. The lack of funding forced political officials to think outside the box in areas such as financing infrastructure improvements, among others.
House Bill 1698, relating to authorizing an optional county fee on vehicle registration in certain counties to be used for transportation projects, was introduced to the Legislature on February 9, 2021. With strong support from Representatives Raney and Kacal and Senator Schwertner, the bill was passed by the House on May 4, 2021, and passed by the Senate on May 28, 2021. This legislation gives Brazos County the authority to have a referendum on establishing a $10 vehicle registration fee. The House concurred with the Senate amendments and the bill was sent to the Governor on May 31, 2021, and was considered law on June 14, 2021. Effective September 1, 2021, the law allows Brazos County to hold an election and let the voters decide if a $10 increase is warranted. Those funds would be collected by Brazos County and transferred to the RMA. In Brazos County, such a fee would generate about $1.5 million a year.
For more information regarding House Bill 1698, please visit Texas Legislature Online.