AUSTIN (KXAN/AP) — The Texas Transportation Commission heard testimony on Thursday about a proposal to shift the burden for maintaining urban highways to local governments.
The Texas Department of Transportation wants cities and counties to take over the repair burden for nearly 1,900 miles of urban highways in 59 cities. It also wants to convert 83 miles of state highways in some oil-field areas from asphalt to gravel.
TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson says the proposals would cut the department budget by $165 million. The commission has yet to make a final decision.
If approved, the state's plan will affect close to 40 roads at more than 100 miles in Central Texas. The City of Austin would have to manage more than 72 new miles of roadway.
"The impact to our community alone could be more than $10 million in local maintenance costs," said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. "These added costs are a concern because they will greatly increase property taxes and fees within our community."
Travis County will have to maintain about 14 more miles. Round Rock and Cedar Park will take on a total of 19 more miles, while the Williamson County will maintain about 9.5 more miles.
Democratic State Rep. Ruth McClendon of San Antonio says many Democrats see as the Republican-controlled Legislature avoiding the need to raise state taxes by making heavily Democratic urban areas pay.
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The Austin Humane Society reopened to the public Friday after closing its doors for six weeks.
Sub-freezing temperatures will continue across much of Central Texas all day Saturday. A second disturbance associated with the winter storm that slammed Texas Thursday and Friday could lead to more freezing precipitation Saturday and …