TxDOT May Turn Over State Highway Maintenance
to Some Cities
A plan being devised by state officials to abandon maintenance on 1,897 miles of state highways in urban areas as a cost-cutting measure could shift hundreds of millions of dollars in costs onto the shoulders of Texas cities. The League learned yesterday that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has sent a letter to cities with a population of more than 50,000, as well as select smaller cities adjoining or surrounded by those larger cities, informing them that TxDOT intends to consider transferring all maintenance of select, non-controlled-access state highways to the cities in which they are located.
According to preliminary conversations with the agency, TxDOT has identified almost 2,000 miles of state-maintained roads that it will attempt to relinquish maintenance over to the cities. Nearly all of these roads are currently covered by municipal maintenance agreements, which TxDOT will attempt to renegotiate with each affected city in a way that relieves the state of maintenance responsibility. Some of the 1,897 miles are owned by cities but maintained by the state, and some are owned by the state, though TxDOT may attempt to transfer maintenance to the city on those roads as well. TxDOT estimates that the yearly maintenance bill for these roads is $165 million statewide.
The League will be filing an open records request for maps identifying the 1,897 lane miles proposed to be affected, and will post the results on the League’s website.
This proposal will next be discussed by the Transportation Commission at its August 29th meeting. League representatives will monitor that meeting and may submit comments as appropriate.
Considering that cities contributed more than $112 million in cash and much more in right-of-way donations and in-kind services to state highway construction in 2012 through “local participation,” city officials with concerns about the TxDOT proposal should contact their legislators now.