More weapons of mass deception from TxDOT
Dec 24, 2007
When the Texas Department of Transportation announced funding cuts by the feds last year, they attributed the lack of money to the funding of the war in Iraq, among other things.
US Congressman John Carter (R-Round Rock) called TxDOT to the mat on that assessment this month, saying that statement was completely false.
Since Carter's accusations, TxDOT spokesperson Randall Dillard has released a statement saying, in full, "Paying for transportation is increasingly complex. Inflation, heavy traffic, the rescission of federal transportation funds and the movement of state gas tax money all contribute to a serious cash flow problem for our state's road program.
"The federal budget can be confusing, but this much is clear: federal gas tax dollars are not used to pay for the war in Iraq. If TxDOT ever gave anyone the impression that they do, we were incorrect and we apologize.
"Our state's mobility problems are growing every day, and everyone has a role in helping to meet this challenge."
As KXAN Austin News reported in November, TxDOT officials expect to lose up to $3.6 billion in federal funding by 2015.
Anticipating those losses, and the fact they won't have enough money to complete road projects from beginning to end, the agency announced it would slash its consultant engineering budget by $250 million and $225 million from right-of-way acquisition.
Agency officials said that with no money, there's no reasons to build the roads.
TxDOT also will implement a hiring freeze, tighten purchasing guidelines and reduce its research budget.
What does that mean to Central Texas? In the next couple of months, the Texas Transportation Commission is expected to pass along those cuts to regional metropolitan planning organizations.
Spokesman Randall Dillard said it could be up to $1 billion. That means that the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, in turn, will be faced with a cut in its own funding dollars. It also means fewer roads could be built.
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