Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Consider TxDOT in the queue:


The money quotes:

"If they are going to hand out this kind of money, we are sure not going to walk away from it," said Texas Transportation Commission member Ted Houghton of El Paso. "Not if 49 other states are lining up for the money. ... Whether it's the right thing to do, that is an entirely different question."

And with key details still in flux, some critics worry that the once-in-a-lifetime spending plan will be wasted if it is spent only on ready-to-go projects. Most of the projects on the lists submitted by Texas are small ones, ranging from paving jobs to overpass repairs and highway widening.

Missing, for the most part, are long-range projects that experts say would do far more to solve Texas' and America's transportation problems, such as big urban transit expansions, comprehensive passenger rail service that could extend beyond the Northeast, or costly relief for backed-up freight corridors that have clogged highways in states like Texas.

"We're playing the cards that are being dealt us," said Coby Chase, top governmental affairs official at TxDOT. "This may or may not be the highest and best use of these transportation dollars, but at this time, that's not the point of the money. The package is aimed at stimulating the economy."