Better East Texas: State legislature fails to fund roads

You would think with the state economy humming along that there would be some sign of easing pressure on state expenses but it is not the case.

In fact, the freshly adjourned state legislature failed to effectively fund the Texas road system repair and maintenance and have turned to a new approach to funding needed work on roads across the state. TxDOT is approaching cities across the state where nearly 2,000 miles of state highways pass to see if those cities will take over the burden of paying for repairs of the state highways in their area.

The idea was floated with the City of Longview in relation to the 28 miles of state highways that meander through the Longview area. Longview was not interested. I suppose you have to applaud TxDot for the creative approach, but it is deplorable to discover that the Lone Star State cannot adequately maintain the existing road system.

Releasing the road care to cities would save $160 million annually, but it is a drop in the bucket on the statewide shortage of $3 billion needed to maintain our roads. The burden cannot shift back to local municipalities that would be faced with raising taxes to cover the repairs. It is TxDot's decision but it will not solve the issue.

The state legislature failed on this front and it will be two years before it can be revisited. Until then, expect our road conditions to worsen over time and that will be a constant reminder for us and our representatives.

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