Proposed TX resolution would fund county road maintenance - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Proposed TX resolution would fund county road maintenance

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Amarillo, TX - Wherever oil is flowing in Texas, tax dollars are generally flowing in along with it.  But when individual counties are picking up the tab to maintain the industry's road systems, those tax dollars might not be enough.  Now a new proposal out of Austin aims to offset the cost.

With the rapid growth of oil and gas operations in our area, some Texas Panhandle counties are spending up to half of their transportation budgets on county road maintenance.  So this week, state Senator Kel Seliger introduced a joint resolution that would create a system to fund road maintenance on oil and gas roads.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, it takes about 1,200 trucks to get a new well operating, and another 350 a year to keep it going - and that sort of traffic takes a heavy toll on rural roads.

"Most of these farm-to-market roads were built in the 50s and 60s," says Roberts County Judge Vernon Cook.  "A pickup and a four-horse trailer was a heavy load for that design period. You put some of these big trucks with major overloads on them - it's difficult; it's hard on the road system."

Senate Joint Resolution 65 would create a funding mechanism that would allot three percent of oil and gas severance tax revenue for transportation infrastructure.  But some say the issue isn't just the money alone - it's also about having the proper equipment and trained personnel to meet state standards.

"We're always concerned about unfunded mandates, and this could very well be one of them," says Judge Cook.  "If they go on about us maintaining some of these rural farm-to-market systems, we're going to have to have a lot of help; we're going to have to have a lot of expertise to take care of that."

Currently the resolution is pending in the Senate Finance Committee, but if approved, it could be put to a public vote as early as November.  If you'd like to see Senator Seliger's proposal for yourself, follow the link attached to this story.