Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Texas Transportation Commisson will rule on accepting or rejecting the RTC's choice of NTTA for SH121

Citizens and delegations wishing to address the Texas Transporation Commission regarding selection of NTTA for SH121 will have to request a waiver of the 90 requirement to be put on the agenda. They may not waive the time frame. There is a comment session at the end of the meeting and persons present can register to speak a the hearing. However, they will proabably have already ruled on accepting or rejecting the RTC selecion of NTTA for SH121.


Public Access to the Texas Transportation Commission

Local citizens and interest groups can form delegations and make presentations before the commission at their monthly meetings. Individual citizens also have the opportunity to express their concerns about any item posted on the agenda, or any issue that falls under the commission’s jurisdiction. To learn more about delegations or how to be added to the commission’s meeting agenda, please visit the Texas Administrative Code Web site and click on §1.4.
If you are unable to attend commission meetings, you may write a letter to the commission at 125 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas 78701-2483

(d) Delegations.

(1) Petition. A delegation consisting of the representatives of one or more local governments or of an organization of two or more persons may petition the department to appear before the commission to seek commission action on a maximum of three specific transportation projects, or on the general transportation needs for a specific geographical area.

(2) Content of petition. A petition filed under this subsection must be in writing, directed to the department's district office of the district in which the project is located, and must be received by the chief executive officer in charge of the district (district engineer) no less than 90 days prior to the date of the requested appearance. The petition must include:

(A) the name and address of the petitioner;

(B) a statement that the petitioner desires to appear on the petitioner's own behalf or as the representative of a named organization or local government;

(C) a clear and concise statement of the subject of the proposed presentation;

(D) a brief summary of the action sought;

(E) a brief description of known or potential adverse impacts on the environment;

(F) the name and address of each opponent, if any, to the proposed action or relief sought; and

(G) a statement of the applicable metropolitan planning organization's position and endorsement, if any, of the project or projects.

(3) Highway projects. A delegation requesting action on a highway project must submit with the petition a letter containing:

(A) project limits;

(B) an estimate of the cost of the project;

(C) a description of the existing facility (if any);

(D) a description of the requested improvement;

(E) proposed local government participation (city, county) for:

(i) right-of-way;

(ii) utility adjustments;

(iii) environmental mitigation;

(iv) construction; and

(v) other project components; and

(F) any proposed participation in the project by other public or private entities.

(4) District review. The district will review the petition and advise the delegation if any additional information is necessary. The district will submit to the executive director the petition followed by a report containing background information, the district's analysis, and district recommendations.

(5) Opposition. The department will notify any opponents identified in a petition filed under this subsection or who may be otherwise known to the department. An opponent will be afforded an opportunity to appear before the commission as provided in paragraph (6)(A) of this subsection
(6) Presentation.

(A) Except as provided in subsection (h)(6) of this section, a delegation will be allowed to speak for a maximum of 20 minutes on a maximum of three projects prioritized by the delegation or on the general transportation needs for a specific geographical area, and opponents will be allowed to follow the presentation of the delegation with a presentation not to exceed a total of 20 minutes.

(B) Other than elected public officials, no more than three persons may speak for a delegation.

(e) Open comment period.

(1) At the conclusion of the posted agenda of each regular business meeting the commission will allow an open comment period, not to exceed one hour, to receive public comment on any other matter that is under the jurisdiction of the commission.

(2) A person desiring to appear under this subsection must complete a registration form, as provided by the department, prior to the beginning of the open comment period.

(3) Except as provided in subsection (h)(6) of this section, each person will be allowed to speak for a maximum of three minutes for each presentation in the order in which he or she registered.

(f) Disability accommodation. Persons with disabilities who have special communication or accommodation needs and who plan to attend a meeting may contact the office of the secretary to the commission in Austin. Requests should be made at least two days before a meeting. The department will make every reasonable effort to accommodate these needs.

(g) Notice. For each commission meeting an agenda will be filed with the Texas Register in accordance with the requirements of the Open Meetings Act, Government Code, Chapter 551.

(h) Conduct and decorum. The commission will receive public input as authorized by this section, subject to the following guidelines.

(1) Questioning of those making presentations will be reserved to commissioners and the department's administrative staff.

(2) Organizations, associations, or groups are encouraged to present their commonly held views, and same or similar comments, through a representative member where possible.

(3) Presentations shall remain pertinent to the issue being discussed.

(4) A person who disrupts a meeting must leave the meeting room if ordered to do so by the chair.

(5) Time allotted to one speaker may not be reassigned to another speaker.

(6) The time allotted for presentations or comments under this section may be increased or further limited by the chair, or, in the chair's absence, the acting chair, as may be appropriate to assure opportunity for the maximum number of persons to appear.

(i) Waiver. Subject to the approval of the chair, a requirement of this section may be waived in the public interest if necessary for the performance of the responsibilities of the commission or the department.

Full text of Commission Policy

Meetings are usually held at the DeWitt C. Greer building in Austin, located at 125 East 11th Street. To make it easier for citizens throughout Texas to participate in the transportation planning process, the commission schedules 3-4 meetings a year at locations around the state.

The Texas Transportation Commission Website states:
Q.How can I make a presentation to the Commission?

A step-by-step process must be followed before a delegation appears before the commission. The following steps require at least three months of preparation:

A delegation or group interested in appearing before the commission should contact their local TxDOT district office. The district can provide information regarding petition content and a copy of Title 43, TAC, §1.4(d) to the delegation.
No less than 90 days prior to the requested appearance date, the delegation submits a petition to the district engineer in the district where the request(s) is located.
Within 7 days after receipt of the petition, the district reviews the petition using the petition requirements checklist and advises the delegation if further information is needed or if the subject of the request does not fall under commission jurisdiction.
No less than 80 days prior to the requested appearance date, the district mails or faxes the petition to the executive director. Note: The district must include the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any opponents which are not included in the petition, but are known to the district.
After receipt of the petition, the deputy executive director’s office notifies opponents of the delegation and asks if they want to appear before the commission.
No less than 70 days prior to the requested appearance date, the deputy executive director’s office considers the delegation for scheduling and notifies the delegation and opposition, if any, of the scheduling decision by letter.
No less than 35 days prior to the requested appearance date, the district prepares and submits a delegation report packet to deputy executive director.
No less than 10 days prior to the scheduled appearance date, the deputy executive director’s office prepares an executive summary using the delegation report and other pertinent information and submits this executive summary to the district for approval.
No less than 7 days prior to the scheduled appearance date, the deputy executive director’s office distributes copies of the executive summary, in its final form, to the commission, the governor, and appropriate TxDOT administration. (The district delegation report is made available upon request).
On the scheduled appearance date, the scheduled delegation and opponents appear before the Texas Transportation Commission.
Approximately 60 to 90 days after the delegation appearance, the deputy executive director’s office responds by letter to the delegation’s request(s).

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