5/31/2008

BREAKING NEWS: Panel to call for axing Texas' transportation board

By GORDON DICKSON, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

A legislative group will recommend next week that a conservator take over the Texas Department of Transportation, an agency under fire for planning toll roads in areas that don't want them and failing to keep track of its finances properly, officials said.

The staff of the Sunset Advisory Commission, which periodically reviews state agencies to see whether they're still functioning properly, is expected to release a report on the department next week.

The Transportation Department has been overseen by a three- or five-member commission with members appointed by the governor throughout its 91-year history. But several people who have reviewed drafts of the sunset report say one of the key recommendations is to replace the current five-member transportation commission with a single commissioner who would serve a two-year, paid term and report to the Legislature.

"TxDOT has become an agency that is focused on making money and deciding policy, and they need to get back to the business of building roads," said state Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, who serves on the sunset commission.

Harper-Brown declined to comment on the report itself. But she said better communication with Texans -- especially lawmakers -- is crucial to the Transportation Department restoring its credibility.

"Whatever tools we give them, that's what they need to work with," she said.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Exactly what would be the best solution is certainly up for debate. My suggestion is at least 5 regional transportation districts directly elected to a two year term that report to the legislature; abolishing any statewide transportation agency.

One key is severing any tie between an unelected agency and abolishing any appointments to it by the Governor.

Anonymous said...

Give'em da boot!

Peter Stern said...

The problem is that the Transportation Commissioner is appointed by Gov. Rick "39 percent" Perry who is certain to appoint some other pro-corridor, pro-toll constituent like a Mike Krussee or Bob Daigh sort of character.

The Sunset Advisory Commission needs to recommend to the legislature that the position of Transportation Commission should be elected by the people of Texas in a public vote!

www.pstern.statesmanblogs.com

Anonymous said...

This is big state with big transportation issues and a "one-size fits all" mentality in not fair or equitable. I agree with the prospect of 5 "ELECTED" District officials. In this way, the people of the panhandle can be represented on issues that have nothing to do with the metroplex. It also dilutes the power base of having just one elected representative.