MOTRAN Upset Over TxDOT Road Program Proposal

MOTRAN Upset Over TxDOT Road Program Proposal

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ODESSA - TxDOT is making some new proposals that would affect roads in Midland and Odessa and one local organization isn't happy about it.

That's because the agency wants the cities to keep up with the repairs and maintenance in order to free up more funding.

It's called the Turn Back Program and TxDOT said it's a cooperative effort with local governments to give back ownership of state-owned roads that are used mainly for local purposes.

In a statement, TxDOT said it gives cities control to make decisions that better fit the needs of residents and businesses.

But the Midland-Odessa Transportation Alliance isn't buying it.

"If they need to make tough choices then they need to do that," James Beauchamp, with MOTRAN, said. "They just don't need to pass those responsibilities off to someone else."'

Some of the roads being looked at in Odessa include Faudree Rd., 42nd St. and a stretch of Highway 191, but that's not all.

"Odessa would see parts of Kermit Hwy. turned back to them as well as West County Road in its entirety," Beauchamp said.

Parts of Hwy. 158, FM 715 and Midland Dr. are also being considered in the Tall City.

TxDOT told NewsWest 9 it's because these roads either have lower average daily traffic or they benefit local governments socially and economically.

The agency also said with the growth, some of the roads have transformed into local thoroughfares. MOTRAN is worried if the Turn Back Program happens, it'll put cities in a bind.

"What cities are gonna have to do is make tough decisions about what they fund and maintain or they'll have to go back to taxpayers for additional dollars," Beauchamp said.

TxDOT said the goal behind the program is to free up more funding for projects on other high-traffic roads in the state.

But MOTRAN said it's a slap in the face to the Permian Basin.

"Midland and Ector Counties alone generate about $80 million in state and federal gas taxes. We generate probably about $17 million in vehicle registrations," Beauchamp said. "That's the reason we're so concerned about it. We see all that money go out. We see very little come back and now 'Here. You can pay for this too.'"

This is only in the discussion stages.

MOTRAN tells NewsWest 9 they'll be traveling to Austin next week to speak with TxDOT officials at their next meeting.