Transportation Big Issue For Texas Legislature - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/3/09

Transportation Big Issue For Texas Legislature

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The legislative session starts on January 13th and transportation issues are definitely on the table.  In the past, lawmakers have described the Texas Department of Transportation as "dysfunctional and out of control" and fixing this problem is a major priority.

Currently the Texas Department of Transportation is under Sunset review, an evaluation of government agencies that happens every 12-years.  In 2009 lawmakers plan to crack down on TxDot. 

"The problems with the agency are with the leadership, the senior management inside the agency, not in the government structure," said Texas Republican State Representative Carl Isett. 

If you've tracked the Marsha Sharp Freeway progress, you've seen the issue. Back in the fall whether there would be enough funding for Phase IV of the project was unknown.  But later TxDot announced $2-million of bond money could be used for the project. But these kind of uncertainties for roadway projects are exactly what Isett wants to see corrected.

"What we want is a nice stable spending pattern rather than huge surges where we spend a lot of money one year and none the next year because then all those people are laid off then they are hired back and so what we would like to see is to have a plan and a lot of the Sunset report is to have a plan," said Isett. 

Isett says throughout the state the gas tax has been decreasing because cars are getting better gas mileage, so essentially it is contributing less to roadway projects like filling potholes and building bridges.

"We have this idea where a lot of people are moving to Texas, but cars are getting more gas mileage so the infrastructure needs are going up at a time when the revenue sources are going down," said Isett. 

Isett says one way to increase the revenue sources could be increasing the gas tax, but that is still just discussion at this time.

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