Mayor Betsy Price : An open letter to the Texas Transportation Commission chairman

Mayor Betsy Price : An open letter to the Texas Transportation Commission chairman

BY: Betsy Price Mayor of Fort Worth
Post ID: 40437 | POSTED ON: Sep 07, 2013

FORT WORTH — Dear Chairman Houghton, Thank you for allowing me and my fellow mayors to present our concerns about TxDOT’s proposed “turn back” program during the August 29 Commission meeting. As I stated in my comments before you, Fort Worth has serious concerns about an involuntary program to force responsibility and maintenance of state-owned roadways onto urban cities. TxDOT says the “turn back” proposal would help solve our State’s transportation challenges with “practical and publically acceptable solutions.” Mr. Chairman, given our budget constraints, the “turn back” proposal is far from practical or publically acceptable to us.

With nearly $2 billion in infrastructure needs, and a bonding capacity within our current tax rate of only $290 million during the next five years, Fort Worth is at a great disadvantage. Fort Worth already has more than 7,300 lane miles in our street system, including 58 lane miles of state-owned roadways that we maintain. The proposed “turn back” program would add another 265 lane miles to our already long list of infrastructure challenges. Including the state roads we already support, Fort Worth would need a total of $11 million a year to maintain these roadways—a cost our city and our citizens simply cannot absorb.

If implemented without a long-term funding plan, the “turn back” program would ultimately force us to raise local tax rates or severely cut essential services to cover the costs. Please don’t unilaterally force the citizens of Fort Worth to bear the burden of the state. Any “turn back” program should be completely voluntary.

Thank you for always being a partner to Fort Worth, and we look forward to strengthening that partnership as we continue to work to address the growing needs of the communities we serve.

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