HBA-MSH H.B. 698 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 698 By: Gutierrez Transportation 4/27/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The North American Free Trade Agreement (NATFA) created a free trade zone across Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Seventy-seven percent of all U.S.-Mexico trade passes through Texas points of entry. In 1999, 4.4 million commercial trucks crossed the Texas-Mexico border, an increase of 214 percent since 1990. The Texas border region faces unique circumstances because of the large increase in traffic in the region. Currently, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) divides the state into districts for the purpose of administering projects. The El Paso, Odessa, Laredo, and Pharr districts are adjacent to the border. House Bill 698 requires TxDOT to give preference to the districts adjacent to the Mexico border when evaluating projects and allocating money. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 698 amends the Transportation Code to require the Texas Department of Transportation when determining projects to be undertaken and allocating money to its districts to consider the department's districts adjacent to the Mexico border as a distinct category to be given preference in relation to the amount and importance of international trade using state transportation facilities in those districts. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.