Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials met with members of the Texas Transportation Commission this week to hash out the department’s plan for returning 1,900 miles of urban roads back to municipal control.
Designed to help the department ease some of its budgetary issues, the takeback would be voluntary on the part of the city. To encourage cooperation, TxDOT officials said they would be offering incentives to cities that agreed to the takeback; these would include bringing the roads up to good condition before handing them over and supplying a year’s worth of funding for maintenance.
TxDOT first mentioned the idea of the turnback in letters from Executive Director Phil Wilson sent out earlier in August. Turnback efforts would be focused on cities of 50,000 residents or more.
The letter failed to mention, however, that the turnback would be a voluntary process. As a result, municipal leaders have been reluctant to take on what they see as an unfunded mandate. Since the meeting, several cities have said they are willing to negotiate the terms of the takeback.