While the abortion restrictions get the most publicity, the Texas Senate today took less than five minutes to approve a sweeping highway construction bill which will affect every motorist in this state, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  The measure will use the state's oil and gas revenues to spur construction of badly needed highways.


  "Basically it dedicates fifty percent of the general revenue currently transferred to the Economic Stabilization Fund and takes it to the state highway fund," said Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) the bill's sponsor.


  The Economic Stabilization Fund is the legal name for what is commonly called the 'Rainy Day Fund.'


  Before approval of the bill, Nichols won approval of an amendment which will allow the money to be spent on free roads only.


  "It stipulates that the funds may only be used for the construction, maintenance, and acquisition of right of way for non tolled roads," Nichols said.


  The vote on the measure was unanimous, 31-0.  The Senate even changed the rules that require Constitutional Amendments to be voted on three consecutive days, and approved it three straight times and sent it to the House.