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Entries in State Transportation (9)


That Grantham speech on doomed transportation bill may haunt the Capitol

Colorado Senate President Kevin Grantham,Ports-to-Plains Alliance would like to express its appreciation to Colorado Senate President Kevin Grantham for his sponsorship of HB 17-1242. His impassioned words prior to the final vote in the Senate Finance Committee were spot on.

The Colorado Statesman

May 1, 2017

“We do worry about the Balkanization of our state roads system. If Colorado Springs and then northern Colorado and other RTAs start passing their own [funding and development plans], there will be donut holes throughout the state that will be left out of improvements and will never get the improvements that are needed. Maybe that’s the preferred solution for some. It’s not for me… But that is the direction we are heading, and I think it’s a dangerous one…” 

“I don’t know what would happen if it went to the people… But I know, without a doubt, that if it doesn’t get on the ballot, then it will definitely never pass. We only get so many bites at the apple — I’ve heard that a lot today — but if the number of bites we get is exactly zero, then zero is the result we will get.”

The session’s unloved grand bipartisan transportation measure, House Bill 1242, is dead, but the closing remarks — you might say the sickbed epitaph — delivered for the bill by Republican sponsor and Senate President Kevin Grantham are worth revisiting, especially given that, in the last week, and with a little more than a week left in the legislative session, three new transportation-related bills have been introduced.

Grantham spoke right before the bill was dispatched Tuesday by the Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee, addressing the bill and its critics with words that might come to resonate beyond the committee hearing, even if in a ghostlike way, floating into remarks made years from now by lawmakers begging please for someone somehow to expand I-25 south of Castle Rock or to find a way to get their aged mother or father to the doctor in the middle of the day.

Grantham said running this year’s bill was a brave and bold move. He said the bill was unloved on the left and the right because drumming up billions for much-needed transportation upgrades in a politically and ideologically divided swing state was always going to be — and is long likely going to be — a slog.

He said people in the Capitol have to begin seeing transportation in new ways, and doing that is hard to do. He suggested that the long era of roads and more roads and single-occupancy privately owned vehicles no longer serves the population of the state the way it once did — and particularly the state’s younger and older populations — and that transit, meaning mass-transit, is popular with residents even if it’s unpopular with lawmakers.

Read on… 


Colorado Senate president trims proposed transportation tax hike as it advances

Denver Business Journal

April 13, 2017

Seeking the support of enough Republicans in the Colorado state Senate to push through a transportation tax-hike proposal, Senate President Kevin Granthammade several major changes to the bill during a committee hearing Tuesday, including the reduction of the proposed tax increase from 0.62 cents to 0.5.

Grantham, R-Cañon City, also committed $100 million per year from the state’s general fund to a new 20-year stream of revenue that would be used to cover roughly $3.5 billion a year in highway expansion projects, as well as generating additional funding for local roads and creating a new multi-billion-dollar multi-modal transportation grant fund.

Read on...


Mayor, TxDot Discuss Freight Mobility and Transportation

Everything Lubbock

February 27, 2017

Mayor, Dan PopeLUBBOCK TX - The Texas Department of Transportation is looking for ways to expand freight and transportation opportunities. TxDot met with Mayor Dan Pope and key stakeholders Thursday.

"Business and investment often follows interstates, businesses need to be able to move their product and we need to connect I-27 to I-20," Pope said.

According to Pope, today was a step in the right direction.

"TxDot's here to get our input on freight planning, and that's important to our community."

TxDot Director of Freight and International Trade Caroline Mays believes the Fast Act will provide funding needed to expand economic opportunity in Texas.

Read on...


Texas transportation funds will be protected, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says


February 15, 2017

Texas’ new pot of transportation funds will be protected, even though the state faces a funding shortage in many other areas, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently told a large gathering.

“Last session we put billions into transportation and locked it away,” Patrick told about 1,000 people during a gathering known as the Texas Transportation Forum last week in Austin.

The comments are especially interesting today, after a Texas Tribune story reports that lawmakers are now looking at dipping into the transportation funding to help with other needs.

Patrick acknowledged to the crowd that there are provisions to use some of the transportation funds — estimated to be an extra $38 billion over 10 years — for other needs, if absolutely necessary. But he also said he didn’t expect to take such steps.

With money tight, Texas budget writers eyeing billions approved by voters for roads

The Texas Tribune

February 15, 2017

More than a year after Texas voters approved routing billions in state sales taxes to roads and bridges, some lawmakers are questioning whether the first payment of $5 billion should move forward as planned.

Texans voted in 2015 to boost funding for state’s public roadways and bridges, which have strained under the state’s growing population. Proposition 7 — loudly cheered by top Texas leaders and supported by 83 percent of voters — changed the constitution to route some taxes collected on car sales to the State Highway Fund.

But in an unusually tightfisted legislative session, some Texas lawmakers are raising the prospect of reducing that initial cash infusion to the State Highway Fund scheduled for this year to free up money for other state programs.

Read on...


TxDOT Will Use Extra $250 Million to Pave, Rather Than Gravel, Eagle Ford Roads

"Thanks to State Senator Williams and Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, a rider will be issued for an additional $250 to deal with some 40 high priority projects in the energy zone," Uresti told 1200 WOAI news.

Click here for complete article > WOAI News

October 8, 2013

The Texas Department of Transportation has backed away from a very controversial plan to convert some 83 miles of roads in the Eagle Ford oil fields from paved roads to gravel, 1200 WOAI news reports.

State Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) says the state has managed to squeeze another $250 million out of the budget to resurface the battered oilfield roads in blacktop, rather than gravel…


Austin: TxDOT plan will save up to $2 billion

In 2012, I challenged the department to come up with $2 billion in savings over the next few years. Here are a few ways we’re doing that.

Click here for complete article > Amarillo Globe

September 21, 2013

For more than 96 years, the Texas Department of Transportation has been providing the state with the finest transportation infrastructure in the country. It has not always been easy.

In that time, the population has exploded from about 4 million residents to more than 26 million people. When TxDOT started, our main focus was to get the farmer out of the mud. Today, Texas manufacturers are shipping computers and auto parts, wind turbines and petrochemicals, medical equipment and electronics on our roads from north Texas to south, and points beyond our borders. TxDOT is now more than just highways, however — its multimodal responsibilities include rail, ports and aviation, to name a few…


Gravel Roads? Funding Cuts? Texas Transportation Proposals Create Confusion, Alarm

"I think TxDOT is under a lot of pressure. They’re underfunded right now and I’m sympathetic to that," said Bennett Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League, which raised alarm over the proposal. "There may be some cities that want to do that voluntarily, but we want to avoid the idea that the state would force these roads on unwilling cities and I think that’s the direction we’re headed."

Click here for complete article > KUT Radio

September 9, 2013

Last week people packed into a room in downtown Austin. The Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees the Texas Department of Transportation, was having it’s monthly meeting. There it got some advice from State Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso.

"I think it’s time for TxDOT to say we made a mistake," Rep. Pickett said.

And, he added, begin to clarify its cost-savings plans.

"We’re not just going to tear all these roads up unless we have town hall meetings, buy-in from the local governments," he said, referring there to a plan TxDOT had to convert some asphalt roads in south and west Texas to gravel. Those were roads that have been hit hard by overweight trucks working on the oil drilling boom in the regions.

But some local officials have objected – and the plan has been put on hold for 60 days. A separate cost-cutting plan would have shifted the burden of maintaining some state-owned roads onto local governments. They would absorb $165 million a year in road maintenance costs. Participation is supposed to be voluntary, but there’s been no official confirmation that that’s the case.