FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2007
AUSTIN, TX -- Today the Senate approved Senate Joint Resolution 20 by the Chairman of the International Relations and Trade Committee (IRT), Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., that would allow the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to issue the an additional $250 million in general obligation bonds for economically distressed areas to obtain water and wastewater services statewide if approved by Texas voters.
"As Chairman of IRT, for the last two years, I've been working with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to address the water and wastewater needs of distressed areas of our State. Today, with the passage of SJR 20, we are a step closer to bringing essential water and wastewater services to the most economically distressed areas in Texas," said Chairman Lucio.
"On behalf of the communities impacted by the IRT Committee, I want to thank Lt. Gov, Dewhurst for appointing me to the powerful Senate Finance Committee," said Chairman Lucio. "This appointment has enabled me to work with Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Kip Averitt to address a number of issues outlined in our IRT Interim Report, including acquiring the necessary funding to finish out the original Economically Distressed Areas Program -- EDAP I -- and setting aside the necessary debt service revenue in the base state budget to support the newly expanded statewide EDAP II program, which would be funded by SJR 20."
SJR 20 is the accompanying joint resolution of the bill Sen. Lucio amended last session with the help of Sen. Mario Gallegos and Rep. Kevin Bailey, which took the Economically Distressed Areas Program statewide. SJR 20 provides for a constitutional amendment that if approved would give the TWDB up to $250 million in Bonding Authority to address the estimated $5.4 billion in water & wastewater needs for distressed areas of the state.
Sen. Lucio added, "My committee, along with the Texas Water Development Board, identified communities statewide during the interim that are in dire need of water and wastewater services, and SJR 20 will afford them an opportunity to apply for critical EDAP funding."
When approved by the House, SJR 20 will be one of the constitutional amendments up for voter approval in November. "My good friend, Rep. Norma Chavez from El Paso, will be the main sponsor of SJR 20 in the Texas House of Representatives. Her leadership and understanding of the water/wastewater needs of Texas will ensure that SJR 20 will be found on the Governor's desk in the weeks to come," added Chairman Lucio.