Eagle Ford Counties Win Award for Legislative Initiatives

Eagle Ford Roads a Mess

Eagle Ford Roads a Mess

Eagle Ford county officials were honored this week for their legislative initiatives to improve the regions’ roadways.

Related: $569 Million Needed for Eagle Ford Road Repairs

On Monday, the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) awarded DeWitt, Gonzales, Karnes, Live Oak and McMullen county officials a 2016 Best Practices Award for their work to get legislation passed that would set aside money for much needed repairs on their county roads.

The Best Practices Awards Program recognizes accomplishments and best practices in county government. Through this program, TAC:

  • Highlights innovation and distributes vital information on what’s working in county government
  • Encourages recognition and inspiration for all county leaders; and
  • Improves the general public’s perception of their county government and the value of their county’s programs.

In small towns all across the Eagle Ford, oil and gas activity has left a mess of the county roads system. Poor road conditions, increased traffic and heavy equipment brought on by the oil boom have contributed to the unsafe conditions. Often, the counties have not been able to keep up with the problems caused by the increased volume.

House Bill 1747, which passed in the 83rd legislative session, created the County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zones that allows counties to collect taxes on mineral values in order to repair roads and bridges. The bill also lets counties apply for reimbursement grants to cover up to 90 percent of transportation repair projects.

DeWitt County Judge Daryl Fowler expressed his hope that this successful county-wide collaboration would be an example for other parts of Texas.

Problems may be formidable, but as we’ve seen here, when you join forces with like-minded groups, you can conquer a lot of big issues,” he said. “There are more voices, more testimony, more practical experience and concrete proof in many cases that our needs were not being met and the Legislature was our only hope.

The association also awarded DeWitt, Gonzales and Karnes county officials a 2016 Best Practices Award for their initiative to have House Bill 2521 passed in the 84th legislative session.