|houston – The Greater Houston Partnership unanimously voted at its December Board of Directors meeting to approve a resolution in support of most, but not all, recommendations of the Sunset Commission Staff Advisory Report toward transformation of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) into a modern, lean, efficient, safety-oriented and forward-looking agency focused on the delivery and maintenance of transportation projects.|
The Sunset Staff Report on TxDOT focused on six areas which addressed restoring trust, increasing transparency, enhancing communication, refining comprehensive development agreement processes and regulating licensing for motor vehicle dealers and outdoor advertising.
The Greater Houston Partnership recognizes the crucial role that the TxDOT plays in developing our state’s infrastructure. The Partnership believes that the existing five-member structure of the Texas Transportation Commission provides diverse representation of transportation interests throughout the state and opposes the abolition of the Commission’s current structure. However, we support increased oversight which would be established through the Staff Report recommendation of a Transportation Legislative Oversight Committee.
The current long-range Statewide Transportation Plan is outdated and the project programming system is too time-consuming and difficult to understand. The Partnership supports the Staff Report recommendations which streamline and enhance transparency of transportation planning and the project development process.
The Partnership commends TxDOT’s improved efforts to address public concerns related to transportation projects. We support the Sunset Commission Staff recommendations to enhance communication and public involvement. However, it is imperative that new methods of public involvement should not unduly delay projects.
The Partnership recognizes the need for an efficient project contracting process which minimizes risk to the state. Relaxed restrictions allowing the use of design build contracts are acceptable as long as provisions of HB 1886, Texas Legislature, 80th Session, are adhered to. We agree that the establishment of time frames for key stages of the contracting process will improve efficiency, increase oversight of services contracts and reduce risk.
We agree that TxDOT does not sufficiently administer resources to enforce the regulation of salvage dealers, and we support Staff Report recommendations of improved enforcement and standardization of licensing practices related to motor vehicle dealers, salvage dealers and household goods carriers.
The Partnership also supports Staff Report recommendations aimed at improving regulation of outdoor advertising.
The approved resolution language addresses the Partnership’s support of the Sunset Staff Report’s recommendations as a start, but not the final solution, to a better TxDOT.
The Greater Houston Partnership is the primary advocate of the Houston-area business community and is dedicated to building regional economic prosperity. It represents 10 counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto and Waller. With about 2,000 Member organizations, the Partnership represents approximately one-fourth of the region’s work force. Visit the Greater Houston Partnership on the World Wide Web at houston.org.