TRANSPORTATION CODE


TITLE 6. ROADWAYS


SUBTITLE C. COUNTY ROADS AND BRIDGES


CHAPTER 256. FUNDS AND TAXES FOR COUNTY ROADS


SUBCHAPTER A. FUNDS USED FOR COUNTY ROADS; GENERAL PROVISIONS


Sec. 256.001. USE OF COUNTY ROAD AND BRIDGE FUND. (a) Money in the road and bridge fund of a county may be used only for working public roads or building bridges, except as otherwise provided by law.

(b) Money in the fund may be spent only by order of the commissioners court of the county. The court may make the necessary orders for using the money for the purposes provided by this section.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 256.002. DISTRIBUTION OF COUNTY AND ROAD DISTRICT HIGHWAY FUND. (a) The comptroller shall distribute to the counties on or before October 15 of each year the money appropriated from the county and road district highway fund for that fiscal year.

(b) The money appropriated under Subsection (a) shall be allocated among the counties as follows:

(1) one-fifth according to area, determined by the ratio of the area of the county to the area of the state;

(2) two-fifths according to rural population, determined by the ratio of the rural population of the county to the rural population of the state; and

(3) two-fifths according to lateral road mileage, determined by the ratio of the mileage of lateral roads in the county to the mileage of lateral roads in the state as of January 1 of the year of the allocation as shown by the records of the State-Federal Highway Planning Survey and the department.

(c) On its own motion or at the request of a county, the commission may have a survey made of the county's lateral road mileage. If a survey is made, its results shall be substituted for the corresponding government information to be used under Subsection (b)(3). The governmental entity that requests the survey shall pay for it.

(d) Except as provided by Section 153.503(3)(A), Tax Code, the comptroller may not deposit tax receipts or other money to the credit of the county and road district highway fund.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1423, Sec. 18.02, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 943, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 256.003. USE OF REVENUES FROM COUNTY AND ROAD DISTRICT HIGHWAY FUND. (a) A county may use the money it receives under Section 256.002 only for:

(1) purchasing right-of-way for lateral roads, farm-to-market roads, or state highways;

(2) constructing and maintaining lateral roads, including the hiring of labor and the purchase of materials, supplies, and equipment; or

(3) paying the principal, interest, and sinking fund requirements maturing during the fiscal year on bonds, warrants, or other legal obligations incurred to finance activities described in Subdivisions (1) and (2).

(b) Repealed by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1310, Sec. 121(29).

(c) Repealed by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1310, Sec. 121(29).

(d) A county may require that bids for construction funded in whole or part by money received under Section 256.002 be submitted to the commission in the manner provided for bids for construction of a state highway.

(e) On the request of a county, the commission shall provide technical and engineering assistance in making surveys, preparing plans and specifications, preparing project proposals, and supervising construction. The county shall pay the costs of providing the assistance.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1423, Sec. 18.03, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1310, Sec. 121(29), eff. June 20, 2003.

Sec. 256.004. DEPOSITS OF TAXES TO COUNTY FARM-TO-MARKET AND LATERAL ROAD FUND AND FLOOD CONTROL FUND. (a) The commissioners court of a county shall credit taxes collected under Section 256.054 to the credit of separate funds called the farm-to-market and lateral road fund and the flood control fund.

(b) If the voters at an election held under Section 256.054 approved separately a farm-to-market and lateral road tax and a flood control tax, the court shall credit the taxes collected to those funds in proportion to the allocation adopted at the election.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 256.005. USE OF FARM-TO-MARKET AND LATERAL ROAD FUND. (a) The farm-to-market and lateral road fund of a county is under the jurisdiction and control of the commissioners court. Money in the fund may be used only for the construction and maintenance of farm-to-market and lateral roads in the county.

(b) All or part of the money in the fund may be used in cooperation with the department in acquiring rights-of-way and in constructing and maintaining farm-to-market and lateral roads.

(c) Money in the fund shall be spent to equitably distribute as nearly as possible the benefits derived from the expenditures to the commissioners' precincts in accordance with the taxable value of property in each precinct.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 256.006. USE OF FLOOD CONTROL FUND. (a) The flood control fund of a county is under the jurisdiction and control of the commissioners court. Money in the fund may be used only for flood control purposes in the county and political subdivisions of the county, including:

(1) any soil conservation activity such as contouring, terracing, or tank building; or

(2) any other activity that controls or conserves moisture or water.

(b) Money in the fund shall be spent to equitably distribute as nearly as possible the benefits derived from the expenditures to the commissioners' precincts in accordance with the taxable value of property in each precinct.

(c) All or part of the money in the fund may be used in connection with the plans and programs of:

(1) the United States Soil Conservation Service;

(2) the Texas Agricultural Extension Service;

(3) a state soil conservation district, conservation and reclamation district, drainage district, water control and improvement district, navigation district, flood control district, or levee improvement district; or

(4) a municipality.

(d) Plans for an improvement constructed with money from the fund must be approved by the county and, if applicable, the affected political subdivision.

(e) The commissioners court may hire a federal or state soil conservation engineer or personnel of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service to plan a soil, water, erosion, and drainage program for flood control under this section and may acquire the machinery, equipment, or material useful in carrying out the program. The machinery and equipment shall be made available to the owner of a farm or ranch for purposes consistent with the purposes of this section. A farm or ranch owner using the machinery or equipment shall compensate the county for the use according to the actual expenses incurred by the county, not including depreciation.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 256.007. TRANSFERS OF SURPLUS REGISTRATION FEE REVENUE. The commissioners court of a county that does not impose a tax for the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges may transfer surplus money derived from motor vehicle registration fees to any county fund that the court designates and may spend that money for any purpose authorized by Section 7-a, Article VIII, Texas Constitution.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 256.008. STATE FUNDING OF FARM-TO-MARKET ROADS. (a) Money in the farm-to-market road fund may be used only to finance the construction, improvement, and maintenance of farm-to-market roads by the department.

(b) The department shall use money made available for the construction, improvement, and maintenance of farm-to-market roads so that not less than $23 million is used each year for those purposes on farm-to-market roads selected under Subsection (c).

(c) The money spent under Subsection (b) shall be used for a system of roads selected by the department after consultation with the commissioners courts of the counties to identify the most needed roads in the counties. The department shall make the selections in a manner intended to ensure equitable and judicious distribution of money and work among the counties.

(d) To be selected, a road must have the following general characteristics:

(1) it may not be a potential addition to the federal aid primary highway system;

(2) it must serve rural areas primarily and must connect farms, ranches, rural homes, sources of natural resources such as oil, mines, timber, and water loading points, schools, churches, and points of public congregation, including community developments and villages;

(3) it must be capable of contributing to the creation of economic values in the areas it serves;

(4) it must preferably serve as a public school bus route or rural free delivery postal route; and

(5) it must be capable of early integration into the improved state road system, and at least one end of the road should connect with an improved road or a road that is soon to be improved that is in the state road system.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 256.009. REPORT TO COMPTROLLER. (a) Not later than January 30 of each year, the county auditor or, if the county does not have a county auditor, the official having the duties of the county auditor shall file a report with the comptroller that includes:

(1) an account of how:

(A) the money allocated to a county under Section 256.002 during the preceding year was spent; and

(B) if the county designated a county energy transportation reinvestment zone, money paid into a tax increment account for the zone or from an award under Subchapter C was spent;

(2) a description, including location, of any new roads constructed in whole or in part with the money:

(A) allocated to a county under Section 256.002 during the preceding year; and

(B) paid into a tax increment account for the zone or from an award under Subchapter C if the county designated a county energy transportation reinvestment zone;

(3) any other information related to the administration of Sections 256.002 and 256.003 that the comptroller requires; and

(4) the total amount of expenditures for county road and bridge construction, maintenance, rehabilitation, right-of-way acquisition, and utility construction and other appropriate road expenditures of county funds in the preceding county fiscal year that are required by the constitution or other law to be spent on public roads or highways.

(b) The report must be in a form prescribed by the comptroller.

(c) The comptroller may distribute money under Section 256.002(a) to a county only if the most recent report required by Subsection (a) has been filed.

(d) A county official or employee shall provide to the comptroller on request any information necessary to determine the legality of the use of money allocated under Section 256.002.

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.17(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 917, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1310, Sec. 119, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372 (S.B. 1747), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 256.010. APPLICABILITY OF CHAPTER TO COUNTY OPERATING UNDER SPECIAL ROAD TAX LAW. A county operating under a special road tax law may take any action authorized by this chapter.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 227, Sec. 22, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

SUBCHAPTER B. TAXES FOR COUNTY ROADS


Sec. 256.051. COUNTY, PRECINCT, AND ROAD DISTRICT BOND TAXES. (a) In each year in which bonds issued under Chapter 1471, Government Code, are outstanding, the county, precinct, or road district that issued the bonds shall impose taxes in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on the bonds.

(b) The taxes shall be imposed in the manner provided by Sections 51.502 through 51.506, Water Code. A reference in Chapter 257 or in Chapter 1471, Government Code, to ad valorem taxes applies to a tax levied by the commissioners court under this section on a basis other than the ad valorem basis.

(c) Taxes for bonds issued on the full faith and credit of the county shall be assessed and collected by the county assessor-collector in the manner provided by law for the assessment and collection of other county taxes.

(d) Taxes for bonds issued for and on the full faith and credit of a precinct or road district shall be assessed and collected by the county assessor-collector in the manner provided for the assessment and collection of common school district taxes.

(e) The county assessor-collector shall pay taxes collected under this section to the county treasurer in the manner that other taxes are paid.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 8.374, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 256.052. ADOPTION OF SPECIAL ROAD TAX. (a) At an election held under this section, a county or political subdivision or defined district of a county may adopt the additional ad valorem tax not to exceed 15 cents on the $100 valuation of property provided by Section 9, Article VIII, Texas Constitution, for the further maintenance of the county roads.

(b) On a petition signed by a majority of the registered voters of a political subdivision or other specified portion of a county, the commissioners court of the county by order shall declare the political subdivision or specified portion of the county to be a defined district and shall record the order in the court's minutes. The petition must define by metes and bounds the territory requested to be included in the proposed defined district.

(c) The commissioners court shall order an election to adopt the tax if it receives a petition requesting the election that is signed by:

(1) at least 200 registered voters of the county, if the petition requests an election to approve a tax for the county; or

(2) at least 50 registered voters of the political subdivision or defined district, if the petition requests an election to approve a tax for a political subdivision or defined district.

(d) The commissioners court shall set the rate of the tax in the election order. The court shall order the election to be held on the first authorized uniform election date prescribed by Subchapter A, Chapter 41, Election Code, that occurs after the 20th day after the date the election is ordered.

(e) The county judge shall issue an election proclamation.

(f) The ballot for the election shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: "Adopting a road tax."

(g) If a majority of the votes received in the election favor adoption of the tax, the commissioners court shall impose the tax in the amount specified in the order for the election in the same manner as it imposes other taxes. If the election is held in time, in the year of the election the court shall impose the tax at the same time as other county taxes. Otherwise, the court may impose the tax at any time before the tax roll is made out. If a greater rate is not imposed for a year, the court may lower the rate for the next year without a petition for that action.

(h) A petition calling for an election to adopt a tax under this section may not be granted on or before the first anniversary of the date of an election held under this section at which the voters do not approve the adoption of the tax.

(i) This section does not authorize the issuance of bonds.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 256.053. REPEAL OF SPECIAL ROAD TAX. (a) The commissioners court of a county may order and conduct an election to repeal a tax adopted under Section 256.052 in the manner provided for an election to adopt the tax.

(b) A petition requesting an election to repeal the tax may not be granted on or before the second anniversary of the date of the election at which the tax is adopted.

(c) The commissioners court may grant a petition calling for an election to repeal the tax only if satisfactory proof is presented to the court that:

(1) there is great dissatisfaction with the tax; and

(2) it is probable that a majority of the residents of the county, political subdivision, or defined district who are qualified to vote for the tax would vote for repeal of the tax.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 256.054. ADDITIONAL COUNTY TAXES FOR COUNTY ROADS AND FLOOD CONTROL; BONDS. (a) A county may impose ad valorem taxes as provided by Section 1-a, Article VIII, Texas Constitution, for the construction and maintenance of farm-to-market and lateral roads or for flood control, not to exceed the maximum tax rate established by that section, only if the taxes are approved at an election held under this section.

(b) The commissioners court of the county may order an election under this section on its own motion. The court shall order an election under this section if it receives a petition requesting the election signed by a number of registered voters of the county equal to at least 10 percent of the number of voters who voted in the most recent general election in the county. The court may adopt the order only at a regular session of the court. The order must specify the maximum rate of the tax to be voted on.

(c) The proposition submitted to the voters at the election may provide that the tax may be used for the construction and maintenance of farm-to-market and lateral roads, for flood control purposes, or for both, as determined by the commissioners court. At an election to adopt a tax for only one of those purposes, the ballot shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: "Adopting a tax not exceeding ___ cents on each $100 valuation," specifying the purpose of the tax to be voted on. At an election to adopt a tax for each of those purposes, the ballot shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: "Adopting a farm-to-market and lateral roads tax not exceeding ___ cents and a flood control tax not exceeding ___ cents on each $100 valuation."

(d) In addition to the notice of the election required by Section 4.003, Election Code, the county judge shall post a copy of the election order at a public place in each county election precinct not later than the 14th day before the date of the election.

(e) If a majority of the votes received in the election favor adoption of the tax, the commissioners court shall impose the tax each year in the same manner as other county ad valorem taxes.

(f) The commissioners court may call a subsequent election to change the maximum rate of a farm-to-market and lateral road tax or flood control tax previously adopted by the county in the manner provided by this section for an election to adopt a tax.

(g) The commissioners court of a county that adopts a tax as provided by this section may issue negotiable county bonds or county time warrants for the construction or improvement of farm-to-market and lateral roads or the construction of permanent improvements for flood control purposes if the bonds or warrants are authorized by a majority of the votes received in an election ordered by the commissioners court. The commissioners court shall submit each proposition separately at the election. The commissioners court shall issue the bonds or warrants and impose the taxes for those bonds or warrants as provided by Subtitles A and C, Title 9, Government Code.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 8.375, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

SUBCHAPTER C. TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE FUND


Sec. 256.101. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

(1) "Fund" means the transportation infrastructure fund established under this subchapter.

(2) "Transportation infrastructure project" means the planning for, construction of, reconstruction of, or maintenance of transportation infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and culverts, intended to alleviate degradation caused by the exploration, development, or production of oil or gas. The term includes the lease or rental of equipment used for road maintenance.

(3) "Weight tolerance permit" means a permit issued under Chapter 623 authorizing a vehicle to exceed maximum legal weight limitations.

(4) "Well completion" means the completion, reentry, or recompletion of an oil or gas well.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372 (S.B. 1747), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 256.102. TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE FUND. (a) The transportation infrastructure fund is a dedicated fund in the state treasury outside the general revenue fund. The fund consists of:

(1) any federal funds received by the state deposited to the credit of the fund;

(2) matching state funds in an amount required by federal law;

(3) funds appropriated by the legislature to the credit of the fund;

(4) a gift or grant;

(5) any fees paid into the fund; and

(6) investment earnings on the money on deposit in the fund.

(b) Money in the fund may be appropriated only to the department for the purposes of this subchapter.

(c) Sections 403.095 and 404.071, Government Code, do not apply to the fund.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372 (S.B. 1747), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 256.103. GRANT PROGRAM. (a) The department shall develop policies and procedures to administer a grant program under this subchapter to make grants to counties for transportation infrastructure projects located in areas of the state affected by increased oil and gas production. The department may adopt rules to implement this subchapter.

(b) Grants distributed during a fiscal year must be allocated among counties as follows:

(1) 20 percent according to weight tolerance permits, determined by the ratio of weight tolerance permits issued in the preceding fiscal year for the county that designated a county energy transportation reinvestment zone to the total number of weight tolerance permits issued in the state in that fiscal year, as determined by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles;

(2) 20 percent according to oil and gas production taxes, determined by the ratio of oil and gas production taxes collected by the comptroller in the preceding fiscal year in the county that designated a county energy transportation reinvestment zone to the total amount of oil and gas production taxes collected in the state in that fiscal year, as determined by the comptroller;

(3) 50 percent according to well completions, determined by the ratio of well completions in the preceding fiscal year in the county that designated a county energy transportation reinvestment zone to the total number of well completions in the state in that fiscal year, as determined by the Railroad Commission of Texas; and

(4) 10 percent according to the volume of oil and gas waste injected, determined by the ratio of the volume of oil and gas waste injected in the preceding fiscal year in the county that designated a county energy transportation reinvestment zone to the total volume of oil and gas waste injected in the state in that fiscal year, as determined by the Railroad Commission of Texas.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372 (S.B. 1747), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 256.104. GRANT APPLICATION PROCESS. (a) In applying for a grant under this subchapter, the county shall:

(1) provide the road condition report described by Section 251.018 made by the county for the previous year; and

(2) submit to the department:

(A) a copy of the order or resolution establishing a county energy transportation reinvestment zone in the county, except that the department may waive the submission until the time the grant is awarded; and

(B) a plan that:

(i) provides a list of transportation infrastructure projects to be funded by the grant;

(ii) describes the scope of the transportation infrastructure project or projects to be funded by the grant using best practices for prioritizing the projects;

(iii) provides for matching funds as required by Section 256.105; and

(iv) meets any other requirements imposed by the department.

(b) In reviewing grant applications under this subchapter, the department shall:

(1) seek other potential sources of funding to maximize resources available for the transportation infrastructure projects to be funded by grants under this subchapter; and

(2) consult related transportation planning documents to improve project efficiency and work effectively in partnership with counties.

(c) Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, the department shall review a grant application before the 31st day after the date the department receives the application. The department may act on an application not later than the 60th day after the date the department receives the application if the department provides notice of the extension to the county that submitted the application.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372 (S.B. 1747), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 256.105. MATCHING FUNDS. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), to be eligible to receive a grant under the program, matching funds must be provided, from any source, in an amount equal to at least 20 percent of the amount of the grant.

(b) A county that the department determines to be economically disadvantaged must provide matching funds in an amount equal to at least 10 percent of the amount of the grant.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372 (S.B. 1747), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 256.106. PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION. (a) A county that makes a second or subsequent application for a grant from the department under this subchapter must:

(1) provide the department with a copy of a report filed under Section 251.018;

(2) certify that all previous grants are being spent in accordance with the plan submitted under Section 256.104; and

(3) provide an accounting of how previous grants were spent, including any amounts spent on administrative costs.

(b) The department may use one-half of one percent of the amount deposited into the fund in the preceding fiscal year, not to exceed $500,000 in a state fiscal biennium, to administer this subchapter.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1372 (S.B. 1747), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.