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      City leaders angered with TxDOT program

      TxDOT may be at odds with many cities and counties if miles of roads are turned to local control.

      A new proposal from the Texas Department of Transportation could cost the city of Amarillo more than they are prepared to deal with or pay for.

      The proposed Turn Back program will relinquish the state's control of many non-freeway highways, saying they will be returning control and the costs to city governments.

      "The Turn Back program is a cooperative program between the Texas Department of Transportation and local governments that choose to participate in it." said Mark Cross, TxDOT spokesperson. "the program will expand the use of our limited funding resources for maintaining the state highway system and keep Texas communities safely connected."

      In Tuesday's city commission meeting the city leaders made their stance clear, they are against the program.

      "Well I think the Turn Back name is a misnomer." said Mayor Harpole. "This not a Turn Back Program. We've never owned those roads. They are deeded to the State of Texas and so they are just abandoned and forcing them back on us and keeping the money that the taxpayer sent them to take care of those roads."

      City leaders are headed down to Austin to discuss with TxDOT how the program will be implemented.

      With all the cities in Texas that this will affect, the committee is only allowing one hour to hear questions and comments from city leaders state wide.

      This comes right after budgets have been set for the year, after legislatures have wound up their sessions.

      This may mean that both cities and and TxDOT may be at odds for several more years. Many of the city officials question the motives and are angered. The are too many questions left unanswered.

      If the Amarillo city commission decides to participate with any roads from the state highway system, the city will become responsible for all maintenance and upkeep including street sign repair, stripping lanes, salting and removing snow from roads during the winter and mowing the grass along side the areas.

      "So in other words the local government would have local control of things like traffic flow, parking, driveway access speed limits, road closures, utility work, utility permits, maintenances schedule. All those types of things would fall under the jurisdiction of the local government on these roadways rather than TxDOT." said Cross.

      To view the meeting live streaming on the internet visit: TxDOT Commission Streamed media