Friday, October 17, 2008

Reining in TxDOT

The Fort Bend Herald reports that State Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, Vice Chair of the Sunset Advisory Commission, has reinforced the sentiments expressed at the TxDOT Sunset hearing that TxDOT officials “have been arrogant and have shown disdain for the Texas Legislature.” Hegar expects the Legislature to implement changes at TxDOT during the upcoming session.

Hegar is advocating some of the reforms recommended by the Sunset staff in a report that was highly critical of TxDOT.

Members of the commission will vote in December on implementing the proposed reforms. One possible change would be to replace the five-member Transportation Commission with a single Commissioner. Other changes could include the Legislature taking more control over the TxDOT budget and projects, reining in TxDOT’s rush toward public-private partnerships such as the Trans-Texas Corridor, demanding more transparencies in TxDOT’s decision-making, and requiring better communication with the public.

Hegar points to instances where TxDOT has gone against the will of the Legislature, including the ad campaign for the Trans-Texas Corridor that ended up being the subject of the lawsuit by the group TURF, and the Legislature’s call for a moratorium on some public-private partnerships. “That’s just unbelievable to me. Unbelievable. We just made a statement and then [TxDOT] went around and did something completely different,” he said.

One of the most striking and unusual possibilities is that the Legislature is “likely to make TxDOT go through a Sunset review in four years,” rather than the usual 12 years.

See the entire article at

Photo: Madeleine Garry Hensley

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