Members of the Texas Legislature will soon consider actions on a wide array of transportation issues. In many cases, my colleagues and I at TTI’s Transportation Policy Research Center have completed studies that can help inform the upcoming policy discussions on these topics. On January 19, I highlighted some of that relevant work for a group of legislative staff members in the Texas Capitol. What follows here is a list of anticipated topics, along with links to proposed legislation and some of the related information resources we’ve produced. We invite you to revisit this space often, as we will be adding to our already-published work throughout the legislative session.
- Special permit corridors for overweight trucks.
- Ports. Last year, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick created a Senate Select Committee on Texas Ports. The expansion of the Panama Canal and other events suggest the Legislature may look at ways to improve port activities, both on the land side and the water side.
- Moving Texas Exports — Examining the role of transportation in export commodity supply chains.
- Survey of State Funding Practices for Coastal Port Infrastructure
- For further information, see TTI’s Center for Ports and Waterways web page
Transportation Network Companies (Uber, Lyft….)
- Current law in Texas only addresses insurance (Insurance Code Chapter 1954, Insurance for Transportation Network Company Drivers)
- The issue boils down to whether cities (and, separately, airport authorities) can regulate, whether the state should regulate, or whether there should be no regulation. | More info
- Our analysis of TNC legislation filed so far is coming soon — watch our website for it.
- Bills in this category tend to focus on texting while driving.
- In 2011, HB 242 passed both houses. Among other things, HB 242 would have prohibited an operator of a motor vehicle from using a handheld wireless communication device to read, write, or send a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped. However, the bill was vetoed by Governor Perry.
- Last session, HB 80 would have made it a misdemeanor offense for a motorist to read, write, or send a text-based communication with a portable wireless communication device — such as a mobile phone — while operating a motor vehicle, except when the vehicle was stopped and outside a travel lane. The bill passed the House but died on the Senate Intent calendar.
- Nine bills are already filed on this topic.
- TTI’s Center for Transportation Safety conducts research on distracted driving.
- While some states have passed laws to do so, Texas law does not regulate AVs separately from how all vehicles and drivers are regulated.
- The federal government has issued guidance for states considering regulation.
- TTI’s Transportation Policy Research Center has conducted research regarding the issues states face as AV implementation approaches.
Ginger Goodin, P.E., is a senior research engineer and the director of TTI’s Transportation Policy Research Center.