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Ennis Daily News

Thank you, TxDOT, for letting us pay

The Texas Department of Transportation had, admittedly, fallen on the same hard times as other government agencies in the state as the economy has turned upside down.
The response that TxDOT gave to Ennis when we as a city formally requested that the state finish what they started with improvements to U.S. 287 was appalling, however.

The state has oh-so-graciously suggested we should pay for the huge project ourselves, with the additional bonus that it would still be a state facility and they would reimburse us for part of it. Merry Christmas, indeed.

What’s a meager $70 million to a city of around 20,000 people, anyway? What, we don’t have an extra $3,500 in the kitty per man, woman and child who live in town to throw at this?

It certainly is good of the state to allow us to do this state facility work — slated more than a decade ago as a state project that has since been sidelined and backburnered — ourselves, since we have so much extra capital to burn.

City Manager Steve Howerton perhaps put it best with his take on it:
“I can’t with a straight face say it’s even conceivable to consider something like this,” he said, asking for commissioners’ permission to communicate as much to TxDOT.

Commissioner Dale Holt was nearly speechless.

“You have my permission, I wouldn’t give them a dime,” Holt said.
Mayor Russell Thomas wasn’t too thrilled, either, and who can blame him? The roadway serves as a cutaround that avoids the surface streets of Ennis, funneling traffic away from the city. It’s not a “city road” in that sense.

“It’s interesting the state wants us to finance the construction of a highway that provides basically transportation for vehicles that are really outside of Ennis,” Thomas said. “I don’t understand why the very last section of this highway that hasn’t been completed to four-lane standards would be in Ennis, Texas, and then all of the sudden the ballgame has changed. It’s not appropriate.”

No, it really isn’t, is it?

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Posted by on Dec 22 2010. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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