TxDOT Sunset Debated in the House
The Texas House has given initial approval to a bill that makes major changes to the Texas Department of Transportation. The new legislation could disband the commission that oversees TxDOT.
It took several hours of debate to get that initial approval for the massive TxDOT sunset bill. But the long night started with one of the most dramatic events. House members amended the bill to disband the current five-member appointed Texas Transportation Commission and replace it with one TxDOT commissioner elected state wide.
Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, says, “If you had an elected commissioner, besides having someone that the state could hold accountable, wouldn’t it also elevate transportation to where it would be discussed during these election cycles? And people could learn the importance of transportation and mobility in the state of Texas.”
But Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, and others protested that electing commissioners would all but eliminate any rural input on the state’s transportation system.“I guess is just have a concern that when you elect these people, they are going to answer, just like we do to the constituency where the numbers are. And I’m afraid as a rural person, or someone bordering a major metropolitan area. I just don’t see how this benefits my district,” he says.
The elimination of the appointed commission is one of the more dramatic attacks on Governor Rick Perry’s authority during this session. But you can be sure Perry and his staff will be working to reinstate the appointed commission as the bill moves to the Senate.