Emails, Jeff Rotkoff, treasurer, Texans for America’s Future PAC, Sept. 24, 2013

3:40 pm

Below are multiple citations confirming that the decision to revert back to gravel roads is budget-driven; including 2 quotes from TXDOT officials. I don't think anyone has provided any evidence otherwise, have they? - Jeff

 

1) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/13/us/daily-reminder-of-texas-state-budget-cuts.html?_r=0

 

"The state’s highway department is scratching around for money, and one of their stopgaps is to convert some paved state roads, damaged by truck activity related to the current drilling boom, back to gravel."

 

2) http://www.gosanangelo.com/news/2013/aug/08/Lege_GravelRoads/

 

"About 83 miles of paved roads that include 12 highway segments in West and South Texas will be turned back to gravel because TxDOT doesn’t have the money to bring them back to a safe condition."

 

3) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/13/us/a-new-boom-for-oil-but-a-bust-for-texas-rural-roads.html 

 

"John Barton, deputy executive director of the department, said at the meeting that the agency lacked the funds to maintain some of the roads as asphalt. Repaved roads that would typically last a decade are wearing away in three to four years. The road conditions and drilling-related traffic are contributing to a spike in accidents.

'We have to maintain these roadways to an acceptable standard,” Mr. Barton said. “The difficult part is we have to consider all options of what we can do with the resources that we have.'"

4) http://www.texastribune.org/2013/08/19/conversion-of-roads-to-gravel-met-with-concern/

"'Since paving roads is too expensive and there is not enough funding to repave them all, our only other option to make them safer is to turn them into gravel roads,' TxDOT spokesman David Glessner said."

On Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 3:51 PM, Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) <wgselby@statesman.com> wrote:

...We haven't seen yet that Perry's budgeting played a role.

 

 

wgs

4:14 pm

I do not agree with the distinction that your email seems to imply exists, which I take to mean that there is difference between TXDOT's finances and Perry's budgeting process/priorities/etc.

 

Rick Perry is the Governor of Texas and has been for 13 years. He has appointed every agency head, many times over. He has signed every budget since 2001, I believe. He was the architect of the tax swap which created a structural deficit. His so-called "Texas Budget Compact" last year, which was signed by a number of legislators - including the Lt. Gov - was a promise to prevent the state from collecting additional revenue. And this past session, he actively opposed using the Rainy Day Fund, which would have added net revenue (and therefore spendable dollars) to the budget.

 

None of these matters is really debatable, are they? If so, please explain to me which of the preceding sentences is false? Since none of them is false, I don't see how any reasonable person can fail to connect Perry's budgeting with TXDOT's actual budget. You do agree that TXDOT is a state agency, correct?

 

And of course, I have already sent you multiple citations proving that the gravel road decision was budget driven.

 

- Jeff

On Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 4:22 PM, Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) <wgselby@statesman.com> wrote:

Thanks Jeff. If you have anything showing Gov. Perry made a budgeting decision that drove the decision to gravel 83 miles of roads, let me know. I'm sure you're aware already that Perry asked the 2013 Legislature to appropriate additional money for road maintenance and construction. We refreshed our memory with a look at his State of the State address.

4:38 pm

He asked the the legislature to appropriate additional money for road maintenance and construction?! That's ridiculous.

 

Texas is in a budget crisis of Rick Perry's making. He was an architect of the budget swap which created a structural deficit; correct? Yes. He opposed accessing the Rainy Day Fund to pay for state priorities during the regular session; correct? Yes. He lobbied legislators and the public on behalf of a so-called Budget Compact which all-but made it impossible to find additional state revenue; correct? Yes.

 

The record is clear on this. Rick Perry bears significant - although not sole - responsibility for Texas' budget crisis. And that crisis is a direct cause of TXDOT's lack of funds, which itself is the reason behind the decision to revert from paved roads to gravel roads.

 

Perry's claim is the political equivalent dreaming about winning the Powerball, but never buying a ticket. He can claim to want additional transportation dollars, but TXDOT is broke in the first place as a result of Perry's cumulative policies.

 

- Jeff

4:51 pm

And if we're going to split hairs, then let me do the same: I did not say TXDOT is broke because of Perry's "bad budget." Instead, I said the decision was a result of his "bad budgeting." A budget is a single document, and had I made the claim that Perry drafted the TXDOT budget, your inquiry would perhaps make more sense. But "budgeting" is a process. And I would suggest one would have to be quite obstinate to deny Perry's role in Texas's budgeting process (as I previously laid out in multiple emails), or to deny the impact of that process on TXDOTs finances.

 

So I'll ask your question back to you. If you have anything showing that a) Perry is not connected to the Texas budgeting process, and b) that said process does impact TXDOTs finances, let me know.

 

- Jeff