State Savings on Road Costs Hitting Speed Bumps

By: Chris Tomlinson, Associated Press
By: Chris Tomlinson, Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Lawmakers have long shorted the Texas Department of Transportation's budget for maintaining roads. But now that the agency wants cities and counties to take over caring for some roads and is converting oil field roads from pavement to gravel, some legislators are crying foul.

The five-member Texas Transportation Commission is considering transferring maintenance responsibilities for some former farm-to-market roads to local officials in order to free up $165 million. Phil Wilson, executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, says the city roads are not part of the agency's core mission to build connector roads.

Lawmakers have also expressed dismay at plans to convert 83 miles of two-lane, paved roads in oil and gas areas to gravel. Wilson says that is the only economical way to maintain those roads.

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