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Senate Expands, Moves Forward on Transportation Bill

The Senate expanded and passed a comprehensive transportation package this week, answering calls from House GOP leadership to receive a transportation bill “three weeks of more” before the June 30 budget deadline so the lower chamber would have time to vet and volley.

Senate Bill 1, which would raise $2.5 billion annually to jumpstart the state’s infrastructure funding needs, was overwhelmingly approved by a 45-5 margin. The bill lifts the cap on the Oil and Gas franchise tax to raise $1.8 billion a year. At least two Republican Senators felt that tax hike was too large – a quandary likely to be echoed by many House members. Other concerns are more local in nature, with three Senators voting against the bill because they did not feel that their districts would receive enough funding for key local projects.