FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2007
AUSTIN, TX -- The Texas Legislature provided final approval of Senate Joint Resolution 20 by the Chairman of the International Relations and Trade Committee (IRT), by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., that would allow the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to issue 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 four years, I've been working with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to address the water and wastewater needs of distressed areas of our state. Yesterday, SJR 20 was "Enrolled" and will be part of the November 6, 2007, Constitutional Amendment Ballot. Between now and the November election, I will be meeting with different communities across this state to inform them of the importance of this Constitutional Amendment in order to bring 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 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, "Throughout the last four years, 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."
Rep. Norma Chavez, Rep. Ryan Guillen, Rep. Tracy King, Rep. Abel Herrero and Rep. Eddie Lucio, III for their leadership and for working together with their House counterparts to ensure passage of SJR 20 in the Texas House of Representatives. Their understanding of the water/wastewater needs of Texas ensure that SJR 20 made it to the Governor's desk," added Chairman Lucio.
For more information please contact Mr. Dan Esparza, Director for the IRT Committee, at 512-463-0385.