At the regular meeting of the Blanco County Commissioners Court held on May 11, Commissioners approved the appointment of Laura Zeig and Robbin Malain to the Blanco County Child Welfare and Family Advocacy Board.
Carlos A. Lopez, Professional Engineer, with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), introduced himself to the Court. As the Austin District Engineer for TxDOT since July of 2009, he represents eleven diverse counties in central Texas.
“We care about all eleven counties,” he said. “Not just those such as Travis County that have higher volumes of traffic.” He said that his main concern is in keeping our roads safe.
He gave a brief report on the fact that funding for roads and bridges is dwindling due in large part to the increase in low mileage automobiles. The newer cars use less fuel which translates into lower income to the State in terms of fuel taxes.
Mr. Lopez said that 80% of the roads in our area are considered “good” which prompted Blanco County resident, Larry Martin, to ask when the other 20% would be taken care of. Mr. Lopez responded by saying that the State goal is to have 90% of its roads in the “good” category but that the State might have to back off that goal as revenues fall.
He said that some state legislators want to propose an additional five cents per gallon gas tax but that Governor Perry probably would not sign a bill that included any new tax.
Mr. Lopez admitted that emphasis had to be placed on the roads with the highest volume of traffic in order to best utilize dwindling resources. He said that roads with a volume of 10,000 vehicles or less will get only a seal coat by way of maintenance while higher volume roads would get a more permanent fix. “As long as our revenues are tied to a fuel tax and more cars are becoming more fuel efficient, then our revenues are lower.”
In other business, Commissioners authorized Judge Guthrie to apply for two CAPCOG solid waste grants.
Commissioners considered two bids that were received to conduct construction materials testing for the Blanco County Jail/Law Enforcement Center Project. The firm of Kleinfelder submitted a bid of $26,431. Commissioners unanimously accepted the low bid of $9,659 from Alpha Testing.
Judge Guthrie reported that construction of the new Annex is proceeding without problems. He said, however, that in order to meet a new Johnson City ordnance on professional and commercial building projects, 28 additional parking spaces will be required at the Jail complex.