South Texas Roads Take a Beating

South Texas roads are becoming a common news item.  Many companies are pitching in to help, but the problems will likely get worse before they get better. Reference our Eagle Ford Drilling numbers if you aren't up to date on activity. The drought last year might have helped a little.  Getting rain on a consistent basis makes keeping roads up to par even harder. Permanent fixes and upgrades to roads can cost from $100,000-$300,000 per mile. That's a hefty price tag, but one that will be a little easier to address once tax dollars begin to trickle down to the affected counties.

Atascosa, Bee, DeWitt, and Dimmit counties already have or are working on voluntary well fees to help pay for improvements.

So, DeWitt County officials have come up with a plan they hope will at least help remedy the situation: making the energy companies pay. Fowler has secured agreements with two drilling companies to pay $8,000 per drilled well for road maintenance. A third deal is in the works.

Fowler anticipates earning about $1.8 million in fiscal year 2012, based in the two companies' plans to drill 225 wells this year. That's still a drop in the bucket, but it's better than nothing, and it's inspired other counties — Dimmit, Bee and Atascosa among them — to follow its model.

Fowler characterized the understanding between the county and the drilling companies as “a gentlemanly agreement. They don't have the force of law.”

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