New legislation allows Eagle Ford counties to keep some of its mineral wealth, which is good news for the failing road system.
Governor Greg Abbott recently signed SB 951, overturning an old provision that stripped counties of the proceeds from the minerals that ran under their roads. Since 1960, the state has received all mineral royalties, even though they do not maintain county roads.
Over a 40 month period, the money for drilling under roads in Karnes, DeWitt and Gonzales counties generated $16 million for the state. The new law allows the counties to keep this money, which will be vital to maintaining their road systems that have been significantly impacted by the shale boom.
Eagle Ford production has been great for local economies, but has taken its toll on their roadways. Small gravel roads originally built for passenger cars now host huge rigs that travel at high speeds and often create deep, hazardous craters. Some road edges are shredded and the pavement can unexpectedly drop off half a foot.
The bill was filed by State Sen. Carlos Uresti who also worked last session to gain an additional $225 million to counties for road repair.