My piece on the Texas Transportation Department’s deteriorating relationship with Texas’ congressional delegation aired today on KUT in Austin, Texas.
Here’s a summary:
Just weeks after the Texas Transportation Department’s contracts with Washington lobbyists angered lawmakers, TxDOT is doing it again. This time, the agency has told Texas’ congressional delegation to not bother obtaining federal funds for state road projects unless they first seek approval for the project from them first. TxDOT argues this is necessary because federal money often comes with the demand that the state provide matching funds, and federal money alone doesn’t always justify a project moving forward. Texas lawmakers argue that means some projects in inner-cites and in their districts might fall by the wayside, and have responded by calling the move “arrogant.” They have composed a bipartisan letter trumpeting their performance in obtaining federal dollars for TxDOT, providing 40% of its budget. They argue that TxDOT is just another bureaucracy that’s gone mad with power. The controversy is just the latest battle in a continuing war over obtaining transportation dollars for the state, and evidence of a growing divide between the state and its Washington lawmakers.