Friday, December 26, 2008

DRAFT SUMMARY - Sunset Commission Decisions on the Texas Department of Transportation

Sunset Decision Meeting – December 16, 2008

Issue 1 – TxDOT Governance and Oversight

1.1 Abolish the Texas Transportation Commission and replace it with an appointed Commissioner of Transportation. The Commissioner must be experienced and skilled in transportation planning, development, financing, construction, and maintenance, or have appropriate finance or management experience. A person is not eligible to be appointed or serve as the Commissioner if the person has served in Texas Legislature in the previous 10 years.

1.2 Establish a Transportation Legislative Oversight Committee to provide necessary oversight of the Department and the State’s transportation system.

Modification to Recommendation 1.2

Authorize the Transportation Legislative Oversight Committee to contract with an outside management consulting firm independent of TxDOT to restructure; recommend an effective and efficient organization structure, appropriate staffing levels based upon work loads; review TxDOT’s financial condition and business practices; evaluate the effectiveness of the agency’s transportation planning and programming processes; and coordinate with the Legislative Budget Board, State Auditor’s Office, and the agency’s internal efforts to minimize the duplication of efforts, and to plan, contract and build in the most cost effective and timely manner. The implementation of these recommendations will be overseen by the Legislative Oversight Committee, with the goal of reducing staff, streamlining processes, and transitioning the agency into an entity with greater efficiency, transparency, and accountability.

The primary functions of the auditing entity would include, but not be limited to:

♦ Evaluating TxDOT’s financial condition and business practices;

♦ Evaluating TxDOT’s administrative practices and performance, including statewide transportation planning, the agency’s relationship with Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), how the agency’s district and central offices perform their functions, and the need for standardization of the agency’s operations across the state;

♦ Evaluating the current guidelines of MPOs and all other transportation entities within the state involved with project delivery and/or transportation policy by identifying duplicative practices and providing recommendations for better efficiency and transparency;

♦ Identifying ways to streamline all processes/procedures of policy implementations of the agency, most notably the environmental process;

♦ Examining and evaluating the use and benefits of performance-based maintenance contracting at TxDOT;

♦ Examining and presenting recommendations on how to maximize TxDOT’s use of multi-modal solutions;

♦ Analyzing TxDOT’s compliance with applicable laws and legislative intent;

♦ Examining the efficient use of TxDOT’s available funding, personnel, equipment, and office space;

♦ Recommending appropriate performance measurements for each major function including comparisons to best practices;

♦ Evaluating establishing in statute the state pavement quality goal as having 85 percent of state roads being in good or better condition; and

♦ Considering significantly expanding utilization of the private sector for planning, design, and delivery of projects and a commitment to excellence in project and program management.

Require the Transportation Legislative Oversight Committee to assess TxDOT’s progress in implementing the management consultant and audit recommendations and to report the status of TxDOT’s implementation efforts to the Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee to be considered when establishing TxDOT’s budget as part of the appropriations process.

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