BAD NEWS FOR TXDOT: TxDOT critics appointed to Sunset Advisory Commission

Many folks are emailing me saying that the Sunset Review won't fix TxDOT. I don't expect miracles, but I do expect change at TxDOT, and change is always good for us, especially when we created the dialog.

I am hopeful, and here's why...

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced his appointments yesterday to the Sunset Advisory Commission. The appointments could be bad news for TxDOT, says the Dallas Blog article. Click on the new appointments below to see where they stand:

Sen. Glenn Hegar as Vice Chair (ran against TTC)

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa

Michael Stevens (public appointee - part of task force that released critical report on TxDOT in 2006)
Hegar, Stevens, and Hinojosa join Sen. Bob Deuell, Sen. Kim Brimer, and Sen. Craig Estes.

Some of the members that were not mentioned in the article, that I was told last week by Sunset are also on the commission, include these Reps appointed by Craddick:
Rep Linda Harper-Brown (had a couple battles with TxDOT and Williamson)

Rep. Lois W. Kolkhorst
(one of the most outspoken Reps!)

Rep. Carl Isett as Chair (Pro TTC? Maybe he'll see the light)

Rep. Ruth McClendon

Rep. Dan Flynn
When I spoke with a staff member of the Sunset Review last week I was surprised that they knew my name and had been reading this Muckraker blog. Here are a couple other items I found out...

The process will stretch into 2009. First the comments are due (next Monday). Then a report is put together by the Sunset staff with recommendations. The public hearings then take place. The commission decides on recommendations to the ledge. The agency is abolished or a bill is created and filed with the ledge to modify the agency. If the bill passes, the agency is modified. If the bill fails, the agency is automatically abolished.

The Sunset process has streamlined and changed state government. Since Sunset’s inception in 1978, 52 agencies have been abolished and another 12 agencies have been consolidated.


Anonymous said...

You state: "The Sunset process has streamlined and changed state government. Since Sunset’s inception in 1978, 52 agencies have been abolished and another 12 agencies have been consolidated." Having worked for the state department at a top-level position, I need to ask you how many agencies has the Sunset Commission abolished, consolidated or modified during the past 5 years of Gov. Perry's administration? --- VERY FEW, if any!

Sal Costello said...

Hey, don't get me wrong...I think our government can screw up anything.

But, I'd rather have this process than not have it. It will change something, and the press it will create over the next 1.5 years will help educate more voters about the toll problems.

To answer your question, according to information I see on the Sunset website, since Perry has been in office 4 agencies have been abolished.

5 agencies have been abolished and functions transfered to another agency. 2 have been consolidated.

83 agencies have been reviewed with laws set in place to alter those agencies.

I don't expect TxDOT to be abolished, but I do expect important changes such as elected leadership.

Anonymous said...

agree with you Sal. Gov't may not be perfect but the more input the public is given, the better. As Churchill said, "democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

Anonymous said...

Perry has stated, "not one inch of free road will be converted to a toll road. The law says that." Yeah, Perry's lying, we know that, but really, is TxDOT breaking or planning to break this very law? It appears so- Campo and TxDOT is planning on making our drive from the airport to I35 via 71 a toll road. Currently, motorists can enter 71 westbound from riverside and avoid the poorly timed stoplights on the westbound feeder at burleson. If TxDOT were to remove the riverside entrance and/or make it a toll entrance, all of the inches of paid-for toll-free highway between riverside and the next 71 entrance ramp to the west would become toll road. That's breaking the law- grounds for a lawsuit. We must fight for every inch of road to remain toll free. Watch for technicalities such as this and highlight it when talking to the press.

Sal Costello said...

FASTEST. Response. Ever.

Ok, so I've done over 200 FOIA requests in the past 4 years.
It usually takes 2 weeks, if they don't want to drag it out for months asking the AG like TxDOT does very often.

Today, I put a request into the Sunset Review folks. I got it back within hours, on the same day.

I asked for sunset staff recommendations, commission recommendations and legislative outcome of the Sunset Review for TxDOT the last time the commission did a review approximately 12 years ago.

and I got this back:




Above are links to the information you have requested. Please note that the bottom two links cover all the agencies from that cycle, so you will need to use the table of contents to find the information that relates to TxDOT. Let us know if you have any questions. Thanks! ~Julie Fullingim"