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NPT Capitol: State rep. opposes his own TxDoT bill…kinda

HB 300 is a big deal. According to state Rep. Carl Isett, R-Lubbock, it would immeasurably change TxDoT. In particular, it would abolish the five member commission (TTC) which oversees TxDoT, replacing it with one governor-appointed commissioner. The problem is, Isett doesn’t agree with that provision of the bill…even though he’s the author…

“It’s a process not an event,” said Isett, explaining that his bill is constructed from the Sunset Advisory Commission report on TxDoT. Isett, who chairs the commission, said he did not agree with all of the commission’s recommendations for overhauling TxDoT. Nevertheless, he is confident HB 300 will be worked on during the committee process so that legislation can be passed this session to make TxDoT a “world class” agency.

The key to this may indeed have nothing to do with the amount of people sitting on the TTC. State Rep. Joe Pickett,D-El Paso, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, said that by tweaking formula funding so that transportation dollars (and therefore decision-making power) were concentrated more locally, many of the problems associated with TxDoT would become “moot.” HB 300, as written, would make such changes to formula funding, said Isett.

Read the bill here. Check the NPT Homepage tomorrow around lunch time for a fuller write up. Read on after the jump to see what else HB 300 would do.

–Ben Wright

HB 300 would:

Eliminate the five-member Texas Transportation Commission and replace with a single appointed Commissioner of Transportation. **

Create the Transportation Legislative Oversight Committee (TLOC), composed of six members, including the chairs of the House and Senate committees on transportation, two Senate members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, and two House members appointed by the Speaker of the House. **

Change formula funding in order to drive tax dollars (and therefore decision-making) to from TxDoT to MPOs*

Establish a transportation project information reporting system that is available on the agency’s website. **

Facilitate the creation of RPOs (Rural Planning Organizations: Metropolitan Pos already exist) with existing resources and provide funds and personnel to assist the RPOs with rural transportation planning. **

Eliminate provisions requiring TxDOT to place newspaper advertisements for upcoming construction and maintenance contracts. (saving approx. $950,000 each year) **

Authorize TxDOT to use “design-build” contracts for non-tolled highway projects. **

Create the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and a board of the DMV consisting of seven members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. **

Require TxDOT to manage a system of changeable message signs on highways under the jurisdiction of TxDOT for the purpose of mitigating traffic congestion and providing information to the traveling public. **

Source: *Isett’s testimony, **HB 300 Fiscal note

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 31, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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