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Texas Register Preamble


The Texas Department of Transportation (department) proposes new §§15.140 - 15.147 concerning State Scenic Byways Program.

EXPLANATION OF PROPOSED NEW SECTIONS

Senate Bill No. 941, 87th Legislature, Regular Session, 2021, (SB 941) amended Transportation Code, Chapter 391, for the department to create plan, design, and establish a program for designating highways as State Scenic Byways. New §15.140 - 15.145 add provisions that set forth how the department will implement the program.

New §15.140, Purpose, describes the purpose of the new subchapter.

New §15.141, Definitions, adds definitions for the subchapter.

New §15.142, State Scenic Byway Program, states that the state program works in conjunction with the national scenic byways program and establishes the requirements for a highway to be designated as a State Scenic Byway.

New §15.143, Eligible Entity, describes the eligible entities that are able to participate in the program. Any political subdivision is eligible. A community group may be approved by the department to participate. The section provides the procedure for a community group to be approved.

New §15.144, Application Procedure, describes the application procedure for an entity to request the designation of a highway as a State Scenic Byway, the designation of a State Scenic Byway as a National Scenic Byway, and an application for a national scenic byway grant for a project on a State Scenic Byway.

New §15.145, Matching Funds, describes the matching fund provisions under the program and states the statutory limitation on the department's use of state funds. The section restates the substance of Transportation Code, §391.256(b)(3) and (d).

New §15.146, Outdoor Advertising Prohibited, states that outdoor advertising on a State Scenic Byway is prohibited. This prohibition is required under Transportation Code, §391.256(f).

New §15.147, Removal of Designation, authorizes the department to remove the designation of a State Scenic Byway if the roadway no longer meets the requirements under Title 23, §162, United States Code.

FISCAL NOTE

Stephen Stewart, Chief Financial Officer, has determined, in accordance with Government Code, §2001.024(a)(4), that as a result of enforcing or administering the rules for each of the first five years in which the proposed rules are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications for state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

LOCAL EMPLOYMENT IMPACT STATEMENT

Jessica Butler, Transportation Planning and Programming Division Director, has determined that there will be no significant impact on local economies or overall employment as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rules and therefore, a local employment impact statement is not required under Government Code, §2001.022.

PUBLIC BENEFIT

Ms. Butler has also determined, as required by Government Code, §2001.024(a)(5), that for each year of the first five years in which the proposed rules are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules will be clarity on how the department is incorporating the requirements of SB 941 into its processes and conformity with federal regulations.

COSTS ON REGULATED PERSONS

Ms. Butler has also determined, as required by Government Code, §2001.024(a)(5), that for each year of that period there are no anticipated economic costs for persons, including a state agency, special district, or local government, required to comply with the proposed rules and therefore, Government Code, §2001.0045, does not apply to this rulemaking.

ECONOMIC IMPACT STATEMENT AND REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY ANALYSIS

There will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities, as defined by Government Code, §2006.001, and therefore, an economic impact statement and regulatory flexibility analysis are not required under Government Code, §2006.002.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT STATEMENT

Ms. Butler has considered the requirements of Government Code, §2001.0221 and anticipates that the proposed rules will have no effect on government growth. Ms. Butler expects that during the first five years that the rule would be in effect:

(1) it would create the State Scenic Byways Program, as required by SB 941;

(2) its implementation would not require the creation of new employee positions or the elimination of existing employee positions;

(3) its implementation would not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency;

(4) it would not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency;

(5) it would not create a new regulation;

(6) it would not expand, limit, or repeal an existing regulation;

(7) it would not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to its applicability; and

(8) it may positively and not adversely affect this state's economy.

TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT

Jessica Butler has determined that a written takings impact assessment is not required under Government Code, §2007.043.

SUBMITTAL OF COMMENTS

Written comments on the proposed new §15.140 to §15.145, may be submitted to Rule Comments, General Counsel Division, Texas Department of Transportation, 125 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas 78701-2483 or to RuleComments@txdot.gov with the subject line "Scenic Byway Rules." The deadline for receipt of comments is 5:00 p.m. on October 18, 2021. In accordance with Transportation Code, §201.811(a)(5), a person who submits comments must disclose, in writing with the comments, whether the person does business with the department, may benefit monetarily from the proposed rules, or is an employee of the department.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The new sections are proposed under Transportation Code, §201.101, which provides the Texas Transportation Commission (commission) with the authority to establish rules for the conduct of the work of the department, and more specifically, Transportation Code, §391.256(f), which requires the commission by rule to prohibit outdoor advertising on a State Scenic Byway.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTES IMPLEMENTED BY THIS RULEMAKING

Transportation Code, §391.256.



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