TFB urges Governor to intervene for rural roads
A plan by the state transportation department to convert existing paved roadways to gravel in several South Texas counties is a warning shot for rural Texans, said Kenneth Dierschke, president of the Texas Farm Bureau.
“Farmers, ranchers and other rural Texans depend on our Farm-to-Market road system to move crops and livestock to markets and to move services to and from rural towns,” Dierschke said. “This precedent is a terrible reflection on Texas, and we fear—justifiably—this list of roads will grow.”
The Texas Department of Transportation has warned both the public and the Legislature for years there is insufficient funding available for construction and maintenance of Texas’ existing road network.
In a letter to Gov. Rick Perry, Dierschke noted the 83rd Legislature passed much-needed legislation to provide voters an opportunity to increase transportation funding via a constitutional amendment next year.
He said the $450 million allocated for counties to access money for oil- and gas-related traffic damages via Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zones is another step in the right direction.
“In light of these available options, we respectively request that you advise the Texas Transportation Commission to cancel plans for road conversion,” Dierschke wrote.
There must be another solution, Dierschke said, that includes input from residents and businesses in the affected communities.
“As you are too familiar,” Dierschke wrote Gov. Perry, “Farm-to-Market and State Highway roads are vital to rural communities.”