by Antonio Lujan
MIDLAND/ODESSA - Traffic congestion in larger cities is forcing state officials to make cutbacks here in the basin.
"Out to the year 2019, they've allocated 5.2 billion dollars for new construction which is to deal with the congestion problems that we see in the big cities," Glen Larum, Public Information Officer with the Texas Department of Transportation, said.
In order to create new roads, the Texas Department of Transportation will scale back on what they spend on highway maintenance.
Legislators made the decision after a continual decrease in the amount of federal funds the State gets from gas tax revenue.
For TXDOT in West Texas, this means making wise choices.
"Budget, budget, budget you're going to decide what is our priority, what's our biggest problem. What roadway needs our attention the most and those are the roadways that we are going to pay attention to," Larum said.
Since our economic boom, traffic has increased greatly in the Midland Odessa/area, creating more wear and tear on roads coming from oil field trucks.
"One of these trucks is the equivalent of 9,000 cars, so over a period of time you can imagine the effect that 9,000 cars on a roadway would have," Larum said.
As a result, you could see more potholes, cracks in the pavement, and aging highways.
But TXDOT officials say even though they're cutting back there is no need to panic, because the State will probably have to make adjustments if the problem gets out of hand.
"The Legislature is going to decide that the State of Texas needs more money to deal with it's transportation infrastructure, and they are going to decide how they want that to be funded, and it may be that there will be an indexing of the gas tax," Larum said.