Reporting Jack Fink
NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s one of the best-known and busiest streets in the Dallas area: Preston Road. It’s also called State Highway 289, making it a road that’s maintained by the state.
But in an effort to save the Texas Department of transportation (TxDOT) $165 million statewide, the agency is considering asking cities and counties to take over maintenance on roads like Preston.
In Fort Worth, Lancaster Avenue, or State Highway 180, is among those that city could volunteer to maintain. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price was among the city and county leaders from North Texas who traveled to Austin to tell the Texas Transportation Commission they have serious concerns about the plan.
Mayor Price said, “Like all my fellow mayors in Texas. We’ve struggled these last few years, without unlimited resources and the growth we’ve had to manage.” She told transportation commissioners in Austin if the city were to take control of certain state roads, it would have to raise property taxes or cut essential services.
Dallas County Commissioners Court Judge Clay Jenkins says local cities want to know where TxDOT’s potential savings would be spent — in the entire Dallas region or in specific cities? Judge Jenkins said, “My cities aren’t happy with the idea of the district. I’m big picture because I’m County Judge, but the cities want to talk about their money staying in their area.”
In some cases, cities have already taken control of state roads.
Avenue K in Plano — also known as State Highway 5 — is a good example. City leaders told CBS 11 News that by taking over the road, they were able to re-do the downtown area — and keep its historical charm.
Plano administrators say Preston Road should still be maintained by TxDOT because it extends into Dallas, the Park Cities, and Frisco to the North.
Critics also say taxpayers won’t save money because it shifts the expense from the state to cities and counties.
Texas Transportation Commissioners didn’t vote on the proposal, and there’s no word when or if they ever will.
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