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Amarillo, Randall County Oppose TxDot "Turn Back" Proposal

The Texas Department of Transportation proposes turning over control of some state-run highways to local governments.
AMARILLO -- A controversial proposal by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) has local governments concerned they may have to raise taxes.

    It's called the "turn back" proposal.

    It would allow some cities and counties to take control over state-run roadways running through their jurisdictions.

    According to the executive director of TXDOT, Phil Wilson, these entities would be reimbursed for maintenance, but, only for a year.

    There are several roadways in Amarillo that would qualify as "turn back" roadways.

    Among the most known is 6th Avenue or Route 66.

    The state says many roads running through city's were farm to market roads with less traffic.

    But, now many of these roads are major thoroughfares and the cost of maintaining them is going up.

    Randall county and the city of Amarillo both passed resolutions Tuesday opposing the idea.

    "Those have always been deeded property of the state.  We give them money out of your taxes, everybody's taxes to take care of those roads.  Now, they're saying $165 million dollars for 1,900 miles of roads.  $165 million dollars they're going to keep and they're going to turn those roads back to us to take care of." said Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole.

    He adds, if TXDOT is allowed to "give" control over a state road to the city now, how many more will be given in the future?

    Mayor Harpole and other local leaders will be in Austin this week to discuss the proposal and to convince TXDOT to abandon the idea.


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