Lt. Gov. Dewhurst doubts TxDOT numbers too

Texas Lt. Gov Dewhurst sent TxDOT Chair Hope Andrade a letter late Friday expressing his “concern” over what TxDOT “is portraying as a serious and immediate shortfall in funding for transportation projects.” From the Statesman blog today:

"Dewhurst, in the letter, referenced TxDOT deputy executive director Steve Simmons saying the agency, based on the current spending plan and the agency’s estimates of incoming money, would have a $3.6 billion shortfall by 2015. How is that a problem, Dewhurst wondered, when the Legislature has given the agency mechanisms allowing it to borrow up to $9 billion additional dollars? He said that available money wasn’t included in the evaluation showing the shortfall."
“I’m at a loss to see why they’re saying (that) now when we’ve given them additional tools they’ve chosen not to take advantage of,” Dewhurst said in an interview late Friday afternoon.
...other projects — including several in the Austin area — have been put on hold, and legislators are both unhappy and suspicious about it all. So suspicious, in fact, that the Senate Finance and Transportation committees will hold a joint meeting Tuesday morning to grill TxDOT officials about all this.


Anonymous said...

Every time I see the word "shortfall", I remember the huge "shortfall" former Comptroller Strayhan posted after here being in office about 1 and one half years. What the word means is deficit - budget deficit. Shortfall is almost a euphemism.

Apparently TxDOT is not taking advantage of their permission to borrow up to $9 billion, and I can sure see what those "loans" (probably involving bonds) won't fly in this economy.
Bond insuring companies that would ostensibly make such bonds triple A, are now about to go belly up. In other words, bonds are not a viable solution as far as TxDOT borrowing as they will not be triple A bonds and so no one would buy them.

TxDOT needs full and close fiscal and fiduciary examination by some honest auditors, those probably not to be found at the State Auditors Office.

Speaking personally, the Y in Oak Hill is again getting caught, as for about the past 20 years, in TxDOT limbo. Our roads at the Y have been let to deteriorate and become obsolete because of all this Governor and TxDOT "politiking".

Anonymous said...

the backup westbound at the Y could be solved by removing the first stoplight at the bottom of the hill (McCarty Ln?) when the highway becomes "regular road." How many people really use McCarty Ln anyway? According to Google Maps, Joe Tanner Ln is a no-brainer alternative 100 yards away and it doesn't backup westbound traffic. Then buy some paint and make the westbound ramp 2 lanes rather than 1 and you're done. Traffic problem solved. But TxDOT will never do anything that makes sense and is low cost because they're parasites.