TxDOT on the Hot Seat!


Statesman transportation reporter Ben Wear has a rare blog/online article up today, called, "TxDOT on the legislative griddle Feb. 5":

Shine your shoes and haul out a clean shirt, TxDOT. The Legislature wants to see you on Feb. 5. All day.

The Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have called what would be a very rare joint meeting at 9 a.m. Feb. 5. The meeting would be in the Finance Committee’s meeting room in the Capital Extension, E1.036.

The subject: “The Texas Department of Transportation’s 2008-09 appropriations.” Translated, that means, we want to pin you down and find if you really and truly are suddenly out of money. TxDOT shook up the Texas transportation world, and quite a few powerful legislators, over the past two months by suddenly cutting money for project engineering and right of way and announcing it will award no new road construction contracts after Feb. 1. Frankly, a lot of lawmakers think TxDOT is playing politics with its books.
I'll be there with a bowl of popcorn in the front row.

You can click the link above and leave a comment, although it seems that snail mail is faster than Ben approving on-line comments. Sometimes it takes him a day or two. Perhaps someone should tell him that these new fangled computers allow approvals in an instant, with the click of a button - which could help create an efficient community dialog on these important transportation issues.

TxDOT claims to have run out of money for free roads, while they divert Billions of our tax dollars (that they claim they don't have) into freeway to tollway conversions. The new toll roads allow TxDOT and RMA's to become taxing authorities.

Sadly, our families pay more and most of the money collect goes to the special interests who have been advocating for toll roads. Toll roads cost much more to build and maintain than free roads.

More spankins are coming down the pike for the rogue TxDOT with the Sunset Review in the next year.

I spoke with one of the committees. They expect 9am-noon to be filled with questions committee members have for TxDOT. Then the afternoon is devoted to HB 792 discussion. And, although not scheduled to date, the committee will have hearings for the public to speak - coming soon. I'm still going.


Anonymous said...

I've given up on trying to post a comment on Ben Wear's blog. None of my comments have ever been approved, and rarely do I see any at all. It's clear that he doesn't want any REAL feedback from the people.

Pat Driscoll's blog from The San Antonio Express News actually has the guts to let just about any comment fly.. Too bad he's not in Austin. Although I'm sure he wouldn't be able to work at the toll road biased UnAmerican Snakesman!

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the millions TxDOT uses WITHOUT public permission or the authority to LOBBY the U.S. Congress to change the federal laws that prevent privatizing and/or tolling roadways already paid for with taxpayer dollars!!!

Let's not forget the ongoing waste of our tax dollars, from redoing roadwork, e.g., the FM 1826 "caper" to using inferior materials to plug-up pot holes in our roadways. How does using inferior or less-quality materials save taxpayer dollars when roads are repeatedly being "fixed" over and over again?

Let's not forget the lack of accountablility permitted TxDOT by Gov. Rick "39-percent" Perry and the massive power given to this runaway agency also by Speaker Tom Craddick and Rep. Mike Krusee, all of whom have crusaded for endless toll taxes for generations of Texans!

"No Taxation Without Fair Representation!!!"

Sound familiar to anyone?

Our nation was founded on that principle!