The Hays County Commissioners Court has authorized County Judge Bert Cobb to sign and forward a letter to the Texas Department of Transportation urging that the state agency follow the requirements of Senate Bill 548 and House Bill 630 and establish deadlines and guidelines for the environmental review of state highway road projects that involve local governments.
“The last Legislature clearly agreed with many local governments that TxDOT’s environmental review process has derailed and needs to be reformed and streamlined, and we don’t see that happening in a meaningful way at this point,” Cobb said. “We’re not quarreling over the environmental requirements themselves, just that TxDOT has not set reasonable review procedures and deadlines for itself to comment and approve or disapprove local projects based on the environmental findings. We have projects in Hays County that have been on hold for between seven and 10 years because there is no coordinated response from TxDOT – it can take months for different reviewers to request additional information.”
County spokesperson Laureen Chernow said that while local governments are in many cases picking up more of the costs of local road projects, TxDOT is requiring that local fees be paid entirely up front, putting more of a burden on local governments.
“We have a good working relationship with our local TxDOT office,” Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley said. “If we can convince the statewide office in charge of the environmental review process to revise its procedures in keeping with the legislative direction, Hays County can build needed, voter-approved roads faster and in a more fiscally-responsive manner.”Email | Print