TxDOT Addresses Fears Over New Cost-Cutting Plan

The Texas Transportation Commission wants to ease fears of city and county officials as it considers a plan to return some state roadways to local control.

Local officials lined up to speak before the commission, after getting letters about a plan that's designed to save TxDOT about $165 million. 

Under that plan, local governments would assume maintenance responsibilities on about 2,000 miles of farm-to-market roads. 

Those roads that are currently maintained by the state. 

TxDOT Deputy Executive Director John Barton said it's only a proposal right now, and there will be much more discussion before anything becomes final. 

"There are concerns about the condition of these facilities, and before they're handed back, to make sure they're in good repair, and that the timing is done in a way that can fit within a budget preparation process." 

The commission heard from local leaders like Port Arthur Mayor Deloris Prince, who appealed to the commission to make the turnback program voluntary. Prince says her city is still recovering from recent hurricanes. 

"We cannot afford to take on an extra burden. We spent over $2.6 million in street repairs last year. And that didn't touch the surface of the streets that need repair."

Transportation officials say the farm-to-market roads they currently maintain were originally built to transport farm produce. 

Many of those roads are now busy commercial thoroughfares that don't provide connectivity to other parts of the state. 

Bio photo of Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

Gail Delaughter joined KUHF in October 2008 as Saturday morning news anchor and host. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Gail has extensive experience in Texas and Louisiana as a radio news reporter and morning show anchor and co-host...