August 20, 2013

Texas has become a John Galt paradise, thanks to Rick Perry and his merry gang of teabaggers. Texas may be representative of that utopian state where government is small and budgets smaller, but there's a problem with their roads.

Texas Tribune:

The sharp increase in heavy traffic from a historic oil boom has damaged many farm-to-market roads in South and East Texas. The damage related to energy development has become so extensive that state and local authorities lack the funding to make all the repairs. Last month, the Texas Department of Transportation announced plans to convert more than 80 miles of paved roads to gravel. The conversions are expected to start Monday, TxDOT officials said. But the plan has been met with criticism from lawmakers and some of the farmers and ranchers who live near those roads.

"Since paving roads is too expensive and there is not enough funding to repave them all, our only other option to make them safer is to turn them into gravel roads," TxDOT spokesman David Glessner said.

Let that sink in. Paving roads is too expensive? Too expensive for one of the most oil-rich states in the country? Really?

Steve Benen:

On the one hand, Gov. Rick Perry (R) believes Texas' economy is amazing, and he's managed strike the perfect balance between meeting the public's needs and keeping the private sector happy. Every other state, the governor assures us, should be following Texas' lead -- after all, thanks to the energy sector, the Lone Star State has plenty of money.

On the other hand, thanks to wear and tear from the oil companies, which have made themselves remarkably rich from Texas' resources, Texas can no longer afford to pave many of its roads, and will instead transition from pavement to gravel.

The state must have known this was likely to happen, and had time to prepare for infrastructure needs, but ended up here anyway.

Rachel Maddow's question at the end of her report is an important one: What is the balance of power between the oil companies and we, the people?

Obviously Texas has one answer to that. No taxes for oil, no roads for people. Yay for small government and low taxes, right?

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