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Possible Solution To TxDOT's South Texas Gravel Road Proposal

Larry D. Moore
Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

A special committee in the Texas Senate may have found a solution to the hundreds of miles of roads in South Texas and the Permian Basin that were slated to be converted into gravel.

The Texas Department of Transportation announcement near the end of the summer surprised members of the legislature and as the discussions wore on, the number of miles that were up for conversion grew into the hundreds.

On Wednesday a specially-appointed group of state senators may have been able to negotiate a deal with TxDOT. Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, along with Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, helped facilitate the deal.

"A rider will be presented today for an additional $250 million to deal with about 40 high-priority projects in the energy zones that must be completed," Uresti said.

That rider was part of the budget bill passed during the regular session and allows TxDOT to spend extra money in the State Transportation Fund if Gov. Rick Perry and a 10-member select committee of lawmakers approves the money.

Uresti said the group of lawmakers also got TxDOT to agree that none of the roads would be converted to gravel until after January 2014.  TxDOT said the agency will monitor those roadways, and if they get to the point where it’s unsafe for the public then they will be converted to gravel, but not without a public hearing.