"Lawmakers and transportation industry experts said they suspected TxDOT was exaggerating its financial crisis."
February 6, 2008
Austin Business Journal
In a Senate hearing Tuesday, the Texas Department of Transportation came under fire from legislators for a $1 billion oversight department officials admitted to making.
TxDOT officials told legislators the agency had made a $1.1 billion accounting error by counting some proceeds from bond sales twice. That mistake meant TxDOT committed to road projects it couldn't actually take on.
Last November, the department announced a funding shortage and said it would cut portions of its budget and freeze some new road projects. Those cuts included reducing the consultant engineering budget by 57 percent, or roughly $250 million; reducing its 2008 right-of-way budget from $500 million to $275 million; keeping purchases to a minimum; trimming the research budget by 50 percent and instituting a hiring freeze.
After the department's November announcement, some lawmakers and transportation industry experts said they suspected TxDOT was exaggerating its financial crisis, but until Tuesday's hearing, no one knew of the accounting error.
Transportation consultants say TxDOT's admission on Tuesday will likely lead to an audit.
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