Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Austin

GOP lawmaker wants $2B for water infrastructure

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP)--A Republican lawmaker is proposing Texas spend $2 billion to implement a sweeping plan to ensure the drought-prone state has enough water for its rapidly expanding population.

Two bills filed Thursday by state Rep. Allan Ritter would double the amount of money Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst proposed spending on water projects.

Ritter, R-Nederland, proposes taking $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to bolster infrastructure, including new dams and reservoirs, as outlined in the State Water Plan. Nederland is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Every five years, Texas reports on the state's water needs for 50 years and proposes solutions. But the plans are unfunded, and a two-year drought has made water a hot topic.

House Speaker Joe Straus says water will be a priority this legislative session.

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