Jack Chapman, an attorney with Kemp Smith and chairman of the transportation committee for the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, said the group is delivering El Paso's message to the state Legislature."It is absolutely necessary for El Paso to bring the message to Austin," Chapman said. "If we did not do it, it would be detrimental to the city and to the issues that affect El Paso."
The series of meetings with state leaders today and Wednesday will include discussions with Senate Higher Education Chairman Kel Seliger, House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes, TEA Commissioner Michael Williams, Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek, Senate Transportation Chair Robert Nichols and Transportation Commissioner Ted Houghton.
"We're interested in bringing more money to the Texas Department of Transportation because, under current funding, they're going to have a hard time even doing routine maintenance a few years from now," Chapman said. "Gas tax revenues are declining as cars get more efficient and it's difficult to get any increase in taxes in this environment but at some point the state is going to have to spend money on infrastructure."
The group will also meet with House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.
Gov. Rick Perry is in California and will not meet this year with the group.
Some El Pasoans, who arrived on Monday, delivered "Operation 83rd Legislature Survival" packages to the lawmakers. Those packages included salsa, a UTEP notebook and jump drive, a Texas Tech ball cap.