TxDOT budget cuts to affect counties and taxpayers

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX - TxDOT is slashing its budget by 10 percent, and it will affect every county in Texas. Those cuts aren't sitting well with some Grayson County officials.

Advance county road signs cost about $600, and TxDOT has paid for them until now.

"So basically what they did was, if the county wants those signs in the county, then they're going to have to replace them. I just totally disagree with that," said Grayson County Precinct 3 commissioner Phyllis James.

Under TxDOT's Multiple Use Agreement, when advance county road signs, post office signs, cemetery signs, and cross over signs are worn out or damaged, it will be the county's responsibility to replace them. And that doesn't sit well with James.

"I feel sure that I will talk to my legislature, to get that policy changed," said James.

TxDOT says it will save over 28 million dollars a year under the new agreement.

"TxDOT did it to save money, but I feel that it is a safety issue," said James.

But TxDOT information specialist Mark Cross says safety is always their first priority, "These signs basically are directional signs for the most part, leading people to different destinations that they may be approaching or near to, so we don't feel like there's going to be a risk to safety because of that."

Lt. Rickey Wheeler with the Grayson County Sheriff's Office says emergency responders sometimes rely on those advance county road signs when seconds count.

"If you don't have that reflective sign at night, and you're traveling 80-90 miles an hour trying to respond to an emergency call, and you pass the road that you're looking for, if the sign's not there to give you prewarning, you may have to go down you know, 2 or 3 miles, which is gonna delay your response and that's not what we want," said Lt. Wheeler.

TxDot also says counties will likely have to pay more than they have in the past for the maintenance and replacement of these signs.

Commissioner James says Grayson County will make the replacement of these signs a priority, but she's worried that smaller Texas counties may not have the funds available to replace the signs on their own.

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