By: Shaley Sanders
LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) – On Tuesday, 181 Texas lawmakers convened at the capital for the 85th legislative session.
This just a day after Comptroller Glenn Hagar announced a significantly smaller budget this session.
KCBD sat down with lawmakers representing West Texans to find out what they hope to accomplish despite the challenges facing them this session.
Over the next three nights, we will take a look at what our area representatives consider top priorities.
District 83 Representative Dustin Burrows’ district includes part of Lubbock County, along with Terry, Lynn, Gaines, Borden, Scurry and Mitchell counties.
Representative John Frullo represents a portion of Lubbock County.
Senator Charles Perry represents Lubbock and 50 other counties stretching from I-10 in the south all way to Childress.
On Monday, Representative Burrows filed a bill to conduct a feasibility study of extending interstate highway I-27 from Lubbock to Laredo.
“At the end of the day, this project, the Ports-to-Plains, has been talked about for many years. We have seen new administration; Trump has said we need big infrastructure packages, big spending, big ideas,” said Representative Burrows.
He said he wants Texas to be ready for this project.
“It gives us an opportunity to have more trucking, more products, more things coming up through the region. I want to get TxDot ready and thinking about what we need to do to be ready if this is in fact one of the big projects that gets designated,” Representative Burrows said.
Representative Burrows said he believes this bill will receive a lot of support.
“It goes to Laredo, so we’ve got south Texas that is going to be interested in it. you’ve got a lot of other representatives that go through that area. Also, you think about I-35 that is horribly congested right now. Hopefully, my I-35 representatives up and down that corridor will see this as an alternative, a relief route to maybe free up some of that congestion, which we are talking about each and every single session,” said Representative Burrows.
Representative Burrows said the legislative budget board is working to determine how much a project like this will cost.
As far as timing, he thinks if they can get this study approved, it should take one to two years, maybe a little longer.
“It just depends on how quickly they can get their arms around what actually needs to be looked at,” he said.
Representative Burrows is also working to do away with all licensed to carry fees.
“Right now, we pay some of the highest in the entire country for a new CHL license. So, DPS is making money off of these fees. I think that is fundamentally wrong. At the end of the day, I think that we need to be as a state paying for it,” he said.