Texans speak out on TxDOT proposal to convert roads
AUSTIN -- More than 200 South Texans voiced their opinions and asked questions on Sept. 10 at a regional public meeting in Cotulla regarding the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) plan to convert certain paved highways to gravel. The meeting, hosted by the Eagle Ford Shale Legislative Caucus (EFSLC), provided an opportunity for concerned citizens, local leaders, and legislators to question high-ranking TxDOT officials about the plan and discuss potential solutions.
It was co-hosted at the Alexander Convention Center by the Eagle Ford Consortium, the South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, La Salle County, and the city of Cotulla.
Their options include directing the finance, appropriations, and transportation committees of the Senate and of the House of Representatives to hold hearings, to appoint an interim committee, and to appoint the Select Committees on Transportation Funding, Expenditures, and Finance authorized by House Bill 1 (Third Called Special Session).
State Reps. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, and Tracy King, D-Batesville, also addressed participants and questioned TxDOT at the Cotulla meeting.
Eight county judges from the shale area also expressed concerns and asked questions: Joel Rodriguez, La Salle; Jim Huff, Live Oak; Jim Teal, McMullen; Marvin Quinney, Wilson; Diana Bautista, Atascosa; Carlos Garcia, Frio; Joe Luna, Zavala; and Francisco Ponce, Dimmit.
Other elected officials in attendance included County Commissioners Albert Gamez, Larry Wiley, Ricky Morales, and Paul Pfeil, Wilson; Jaime Canales, Webb; Shelby Dupnik, Karnes; Rene Benavides, Abel Gonzalez, and Ricardo Garza, La Salle; and Mike Uriegas, Dimmit.
Before the meeting, local leaders guided TxDOT officials on a tour of several of the farm-to-market roads slated to be graveled in Dimmit and La Salle counties. Tour participants were able to see firsthand how important the highways are to farmers and ranchers, the oil and gas industry, and local residents in rural communities.
The Caucus focuses on short- and long-term solutions to the impacts of the Eagle Ford shale on transportation, education, public safety, housing, the environment, and other areas.
For more information, call Rachel McClure at 512-463-1818.