The Texas Department of Transportation has backed away from a very controversial plan to convert some 83 miles of roads in the Eagle Ford oil fields from paved roads to gravel, 1200 WOAI news reports.
State Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) says the state has managed to squeeze another $250 million out of the budget to resurface the battered oilfield roads in blacktop, rather than gravel.
"Thanks to State Senator Williams and Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, a rider will be issued for an additional $250 to deal with some 40 high priority projects in the energy zone," Uresti told 1200 WOAI news.
The plan to revert from paved roads to gravel had outraged residents who live in the Eagle Ford. Many said the gravel would kick up huge clouds of dust, and rocks would crack their windshields. Democrats had actually begun to use the proposal as evidence that under Rick Perry and the Republicans, Texas was 'going back to the 1950s' in terms of infrastructure.
"No roads would be converted to gravel without a public hearing, and for those roads that are on the list, TxDOT has agreed that no roads will be converted until next year," Uresti said.
Approval for the extra funding still has to be approved by Perry and the Legislative Budget Board.
"Those moneys will be used to fund high priority projects that TxDOT has identified in the energy zone," Uresti said. "It was a big success for our committee to be able to get the funds to so that."
TxDOT had said that with the press of having to deal with the state's population growth and decaying expressways, it simply couldn't afford to repave the Eagle Ford roads, which have been battered by the constant rumble of oil trucks.
The $250 million won't prevent all Eagle Ford roads from being converted to gravel, and the funding will go to repair 'high priority' projects.