September 23, 2013

#TxDOT bribery? - we don't do urban roads, we don't need machines!

The folks at the Texas Department of Transportation claim that they've got taxpayer interests in mind with plans to auction off as much as 6,000 pieces of equipment.
"We owe it to the taxpayers to get the best value we can," said TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson. "When we have 16,000 vehicles, we should ask the question, 'Do we need all of those?'"
Er, isn't this instead likely to be connected to the agency's push to dump maintenance responsibilities for a bunch of state-signed highways in major metropolitan areas on the respective cities or counties?

And, just in time for the meeting tomorrow of the Texas Transportation Commission!

Yeah, the road-dump idea is just being discussed, but I'm sure a "spoonful of sugar" would be to offer cities involved a right of first refusal or something on any auctioned-off machines.

In fact, this story about Permian Basin leaders opposing the road-dump plan kind of confirms that's a possibility:
Ector County Judge Susan Redford, who called the proposal “an extra kick in the teeth for counties in West Texas,” said the county builds roads more cheaply than TxDOT, and it lacks the equipment it would need to maintain the state roads.   
Connect those dots, folks!

Showing how ridiculous the plan is, in Waco, for example, TxDOT wants to "abandon" U.S. 84 where it runs through Waco as Waco Drive. I originally thought, before hearing details, that this proposal was only about loops and spurs, like Loop 12 in Dallas, or Spur 491 in Waco, not through routes,

This is 10-cents-on-the-dollar cheap, folks.

And, it's another way in which state-level GOP wingnuts will try to continue to claim that they provide government without raising taxes.

Noooo, they just raise fees instead, where they can, and dump stuff on the local and county level where they can't.

Meanwhile, there's the flip side of the coin, with TxDOT wanting to convert more and more farm-to-market roads to gravel. Its starter plan was 83 miles of road in six counties in South and West Texas to gravel. However, state Sen. Carlos Uresti says he has heard the agency has 400 road miles in its target.  And there's this:
Texas Farm Bureau President Kenneth Dierschke met with TxDOT officials in August to address questions rural Texans have regarding the conversion of the roads hardest hit by oil and gas exploration.

As a result of that meeting with Farm Bureau and concerns expressed by others, TxDOT has pledged to work closer with stakeholders with plans to hear their concerns in public meetings in the affected counties.

Also, in a response via letter to Farm Bureau, TxDOT said they will restore converted roads to their original construction “as soon as possible.” TxDOT qualified “as soon as possible,” however, as contingent on the reduction of energy-sector activity on FM roads and provided that “sufficient additional funding” is obtained.

In other words, don’t hold your breath.
On the other hand, all you folks like the president of the Farm Bureau who continue to vote for GOP government on the cheap, of the cheap, by the cheap and for the cheap, you've got nowhere to look but yourselves for why this is happening.

No comments: