Lt. Gen. Joe Weber (Ret.), TxDOT Executive Director, addressing Alliance for I-69 Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TxDOT Ranked Tops in Cost Effectiveness

 

December 24, 2014

 

Texas has the highest overall rating and is the most cost-effective state highway system among the nation’s 20 most populous states.

 

That is the bottom line of the Reason Foundation’s 21st Annual Highway Report rating the nation’s 50 state transportation departments and their highway systems.

 

TxDOT Executive Director Joe Weber said he is extremely proud of the ratings because they mean that TxDOT is being a good steward for Texas taxpayers. 

 

Speaking at an Alliance for I-69 Texas event in Houston, he said that those who think Texas needs to be like Florida and California should take note of their ratings for effectiveness.   Of the 20 most populous states Florida ranked number 11 and California ranked number 18 overall.

 

Texas ranked as the top state with the lowest administrative costs per mile on the state highway system.  Consisting of more than 80,000 miles, the Texas system is the nation’s largest.  “That’s about bang for the buck,” Weber said.  The Reason report lists the Texas cost per mile of state road in 2012 at $3,800 compared to a weighted average of all states of $10,579 per mile.

 

Other rankings in the report for Texas include:  Rural interstate payment conditions – 24th; urban interstate pavement conditions – 27th; rural arterial pavement condition – 8th; and fatality rate – 40th.


STRIVING TO BE BEST IN CLASS

Weber reported that Gov.-Elect Greg Abbott had delivered the message to TxDOT management that he will work very hard to get additional funding for highways but that the Department must continue to execute. 

 

“We will execute just as TxDOT has done in this state for almost 100 years.  We’ll take the money and resources we’ve got, we’ll spend them the right way so the people of Texas will be proud.  It will be good product and transparent and we’ll prioritize,” Weber said.

 

He said TxDOT is also on its way to achieving several goals to run more efficiently, striving to be a “best-in-class” agency.

 

The Department is required by HB 1, the enabling legislation for Proposition 1 funding, to achieve $100 million in cost savings and efficiencies.  Weber said TxDOT will exceed that requirement with savings of about $140 million overall within the department.  Major savings are being achieved by evaluating all TxDOT equipment utilization.

 

One of TxDOT biggest efforts has been the process of retooling its information technology (IT) and finance systems to better serve taxpayers and save million in the future.

 

Weber stressed the importance of the IT update and adoption of best business practices. He said the process has sometimes been painful for older employees who are comfortable with systems that have been in place for decades.  He said his message to them has been that while those system work just fine for them, one of these days they are going to be gone and a new wave of young people coming up in the organization are going to have to keep the agency going and they can’t do it with the tools that have been used in the past.

 

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Weber pointed with pride to a survey performed in 2014 by the Texas Legislative Council that found that TxDOT had achieved a remarkable 92% satisfaction rating for customer service.

 

He also noted several national honors earned in the past year for special projects including the striking 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth and progress on the Grand Parkway, the multi-county third freeway loop being built around Houston.

 

Weber said the department got the message from the people of Texas in the November election with the 80% approval of Proposition 1.  The voters have entrusted TxDOT with the job of addressing congestion and keeping our roads safe and want the agency to “get on with it,” he said. While the state does not have all the money it needs for roads, Weber said Prop 1 funds will take care of a lot of needs and "is a great start."

 

BOND REFUNDING

After a record year of bond issuance, TxDOT has reduced its borrowing cost by $425 million through refunding debt at historically low interest rates. The department issued more than $4.4 billion in bonds in 2014 including $1.83 million of fixed and variable-rate bonds on Dec. 3. There was substantial investor demand for the bonds. The true interest cost on the $1.58 billion in fixed-rate bonds came out to 3.55%.