NEWS RELEASE from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 3, 2013
Contact: Will Krueger, (512) 463-0121

Eagle Ford Shale Legislative Caucus to Host Regional Meeting Regarding TxDOT Proposal to Convert Roads to Gravel

(AUSTIN)—The Eagle Ford Shale Legislative Caucus announced today (Tuesday) that it will host a regional public meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10, regarding the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) plan to convert certain paved highways to gravel.

WHO:

Concerned citizens, Eagle Ford Shale Legislative Caucus, local officials, and TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson

WHAT:

Regional meeting to discuss TxDOT's plan to convert certain paved highways to gravel

WHEN:

5:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WHERE:

Cotulla Convention Center, 290 N. IH-35, Cotulla, Texas

"The Farm-to-Market road system is critical to our state's economy and to Texans' way of life," said Senator Judith Zaffirini, one of the organizers of the Caucus. "We must continue to discuss extensively the impact of these drastic measures and collaborate on possible alternatives."

"Gravel roads may evoke a fond memory of Texas' past, but they are not the route to a prosperous future," said Senator Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio. "If the Eagle Ford Shale Region is to drive into a 21st Century economy, it must do so on a 21st Century transportation system.

"The shale regions are facing real transportation challenges and safety concerns," said Senator Kirk Watson, D-Austin. "It's past time for the state to listen to the community and start working with residents on real solutions. Texas can do better for these South Texans."

"The meeting will provide an excellent opportunity to continue our discussion with TxDOT on the issue of gravel road conversions," said Senator Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio. "The 60-day moratorium is a good temporary solution, but I believe it is in our best interest for TxDOT to establish a clear policy on determining which roads may be subjected to becoming gravel roads and engage with the local community to seek alternatives. I am confident working with TxDOT, county officials, community leaders and industry we can find a resolution."

"I look forward to the opportunity to visit with the officials from the Austin office of the Texas Department of Transportation in South Texas," said Rep. Tracy King, D-Batesville. "This will be an excellent opportunity for them to personally see and experience the roads which we drive on daily."

"It's embarrassing and unacceptable for a state that touts its economic strength to downgrade its farm-to-market road system — the very system that has helped lead to our economic success for generations," said Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City. "Downgrading from pavement to gravel is a road that Texas MUST NOT take."

"My colleagues and I, of the Texas House, realize how critical the oil and gas industry is to Texas' economy, however we must work together with the people of these rapidly developing areas to maintain infrastructure and quality of life," said Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, R-Lexington.

"In Houston, I am concerned these planned changes will hurt our local downstream businesses that have committed to increasing capacity to keep up with the Eagle Ford Shale," said Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston.

Through the Caucus, 28 members of the Texas Legislature address issues related to natural resource production in the Eagle Ford Shale and collaborate to develop and support associated legislation. The Caucus focuses on short- and long-term solutions to the impacts of the EFS on transportation, education, public safety, housing, the environment and other areas. Additional information about the Caucus and about the Sept. 10 meeting is available from Rachel McClure, 512/463-1818, rachel.mcclure@senate.state.tx.us.

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