No full House: Absences abound on failed road vote

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Maybe they were stuck in traffic?

When the Texas House failed to approve spending an extra $900 million a year to ease congested and crumbling highways, missing from the crucial vote were 23 lawmakers, some of whose absences remained unexplained Tuesday.

The bill fell short by 16 votes. Odds were long that the House would be successful on a second try Tuesday, the final day of the second special session. A third 30-day session now looms.

Each special session costs the state roughly $800,000.

The Associated Press reached out to every House member absent for Monday's vote. One lawmaker was grieving the weekend death of her chief of staff. Another was with his son in a California hospital.

Aides to most others took messages and did not immediately comment.

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