Texas Port Expansion Act aims to keep state competitive

AUSTIN - Things are getting pretty exciting in the Texas legislature as the Texas Port Expansion Act passes through the senate.

Ports play a huge role in the Texas economy and the Port of Houston is a huge chunk of that.

The Texas State Senate Bill 28, would allow funds from the Texas Department of Transportation's “Texas Mobility Fund” to be used on improving roads and access to ports.

“For too long, the Texas Department of Transportation, to many people has just been the highway department. But you have to recognize that it has to provide access to the ports,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

It also would set up a new revolving loan fund to improve, deepen and widen Texas ship channels.

“These navigation district waterway projects only happen every few decades, other state legislatures are way out in front of Texas in providing loan structures like we are working to do now,” said Texas State Senator Brandon Creighton from District 4.

The legislature is being stingy with the current budget and some worry about efforts to fill the fund.

“You can create these programs all you want, but if you don't appropriate the money to put into the program it's not going to do any good,” said Emmett.

The Texas Port Expansion Act has passed the senate, and has moved on to the house.

It's pretty popular, so it's expected to pass, but pockets will need to run as deep as the gulf to fund it.