KXAN) —Gov. Rick Perry is staying noncommittal about a proposal from Senate Republicans to take $6 billion from the state's Rainy Day Fund for water and highway projects.
Perry on Friday said the state doesn't need $12 billion in emergency reserves, which is the projected balance of the Rainy Day Fund if left unspent. But Perry stopped short of endorsing a Senate GOP proposal to spend half that stockpile on infrastructure.
Perry said he was "open to their ideas" following a speech at an Austin transportation summit. He used the event to come out in favor of dedicating future vehicle sales taxes for transportation projects.
"We have arrived at a moment of great possibility in our state's history – our booming economy has grown demand on our infrastructure, but has also left us with a solid financial foundation upon which to build sound infrastructure for the next half-century," Perry told the Texas Lyceum Public Conference.
"Now is the time to do the fiscally responsible thing and make our state more accessible and productive for generations to come. Strengthening our infrastructure will improve the flow of goods throughout our state, reduce wear and tear on vehicles, and improve our quality of life in a way that can't be measured in dollars and cents."
The new Senate plan takes far more from the Rainy Day Fund than the $3.7 billion that Perry proposed when the Legislature convened in January.
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