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Transportation
The Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT, oversees Texas transportation and is headquartered in Austin. The Texas Legislature created the organization in 1917, although the agency has had several names throughout the past century.TxDOT is run by a five-member commission and an executive director selected by the commission. Commission members are appointed by the governor, with the advice of the Texas Senate, and serve overlapping six-year terms.The department is divided into 25 districts, each of which oversees construction and maintenance of state highways. Austin’s district includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Gillespie, Hays, Lee, Llano, Mason, Travis and Williamson counties.In Austin, the organization encompasses entities including Capital Metro; the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, known as CAMPO; the city’s transportation department; and the chamber of commerce. TxDOT organized the “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti-litter campaign, which began in 1986. Also, it runs the TxTag program, which bills drivers for highway tolls by scanning a sticker on the driver’s windshield at toll stations.

Study: Bad Road Conditions Cost Austinites $1,200 a Year

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KUT News
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Austin’s roads cost each local driver $1,200 a year. That's according to TRIP, a highway industry nonprofit. The organization also found that deficient roads in Texas cost drivers a total of $23 billion each year.

The report says poor road conditions cause accidents and additional traffic which lead to longer commute times and greater fuel usage. Substandard roads can also result in more wear and tear to vehicles and tires, resulting in higher maintenance costs. 

Overall, TRIP found that 18 percent of Texas’s major urban roads are in poor condition, while 27 percent are considered mediocre. Though $1,200 a year isn't chump change, the report still found Austin has the fewest number of roads in poor condition with nine percent. San Antonio ranks highest, with 33 percent of its roads in poor condition. 

The state of Texas roads hurts more than drivers’ bank accounts. TRIP estimates that road features contribute to one-third of all fatal and serious crashes. The number and width of lanes, road lighting, lane markers, shoulders, rumble strips and guard rails all play a role in road safety. 

The Texas Transportation Institute found that in the three years following repair projects that widened lanes and improved the shoulders along rural roads, there were 133 fewer fatalities on those roads than in the three years prior to the improvements.   

And according to findings by the Federal Highway Administration, every $100 million spent on highway safety improvements will result in 145 fewer traffic fatalities over a ten year period.

What's your opinion of the state of Austin's roads? Let us know in the comment field below. 

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