The Texas Senate has passed its first pieces of legislation of the session. Senate Bill 5 and Senate Joint Resolution 5 both passed by a 28-2 vote Wednesday.

The bills would direct the state’s car sales tax revenue into the state highway fund starting in 2017, up to $2.5 billion per year. Any money above that would be split, with half going to the state highway fund and the remainder going to the general revenue fund. The Senate approved an amendment proposed by Sen. Royce West (D – TX Senate District 23) to dedicate some of the money to education.

Supporters of the bill praised the stability for roads that the bill could provide. “This bill provides predictable funding for roads in the future,” Sen. Donna Campbell (R – TX Senate District 25) said.

Sen. Kirk Watson (D – TX Senate District 14) said he supports appropriating funding for roads, but added concern about dedicating funds. He said it could lead to a lack of flexibility in the future to pay for other needs.  “We need money for roads,” he said, “but it’s not our only need. It’s just our most visible need. We need to find new funding. This is not new money, it’s existing funding being called a new name.”

Both bills will now go the House. If passed there, the bills will go to Governor’s Abbott’s desk for a signature.