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March 16, 2017      6:06 PM

Senate takes another swing at fixing TxDOT contracting

Rodriguez says he is “shocked at the lack of oversight over districts”; Chair Nichols looks to improve contracting, reporting and documentation

This session’s Sunset bill for the Texas Department of Transportation is intended to put pressure on the agency to follow through on critical improvements, Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, told the Senate Transportation Committee this week.

No agency has been revisited by the Sunset Commission more over the last decade than TxDOT: in 2009, 2011 and now 2017. That doesn’t even include the large-scale omnibus transportation bill, House Bill 3588, that rolled out public-private partnerships in 2003 and has been tweaked in just about every subsequent session to reflect changing attitudes toward the investment and operation of toll roads by private entities.

Every successive bill on TxDOT over the last decade has drilled down to a more granular level of agency operations. And Nichols’ Senate Bill 312, which mirrors recent Sunset Commission recommendations, follows that course, dictating areas such as contracting, reporting and documentation. The bill also prescribes future management actions.

By Kimberly Reeves

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