Legislators yesterday called the Texas Department of Transportation “a mess” and “out of control.” The Sunset Advisory Commission, composed primarily of House and Senate members, have been reviewing TxDOT’s performance, or lack thereof. They voted to recommend their colleagues re-structure the agency. There has been growing bad blood between legislators and TxDOT, fueled over the public perceptions around the Trans Texas Corridor, taxpayer-funded advertising, a poor financial controls.

The Sunset Commission voted to recommend cutting the Transportation Commission from five members to just one commissioner. Of the Sunset members,, seven voted for the proposal, five against. The Dallas Morning News reports the lone commissioner would be forced to work much more closely with the Legislature:

Most important, he or she would answer to a new legislative oversight committee that would be granted sweeping powers to transform the transportation department, including reducing its nearly 15,000-member staff and streamlining the building of highways.

Even among those voting no, sentiment was clearly in favor of making big changes at an agency many lawmakers believe has all but ignored their frustrations over toll roads and the highly controversial Trans-Texas Corridor.

Taxpayer hero Carl Isett (R-Lubbock) was one of those voting against the single-commissioner proposal, but he told the newspaper “Our goal is to move this agency forward, to significantly change it.”

It’s abundantly clear that whether the rest of the Legislature goes along with the specific proposals, TxDOT bureaucrats need to be ready for some significant changes. For taxpayers, that’s the kind of turn-signal we’re looking for.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Michael Quinn Sullivan and his wife have three children. He is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. Check out his podcast, “Reflections on Life and Liberty.”

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