A progress report on TxDOT Sunset Review (pdf) was released at The Texas Transportation Commission (the Commission) meeting last month, according to TxDOT’s October 4 e-newsletter. The progress report covers four issues:
• Outline of important Sunset review and hearing dates over the next few months
• Issue 2: transportation planning and project development.
• Issue 3: public involvement efforts, customer relationships and information sharing.
• Issue 4: professional services contracts.
Under the state’s Sunset laws, every agency must come up for review once every twelve years, after which the Legislature decides its fate: renew the agency for the another twelve years, abolish the agency, or many options in between.
The Sunset Review process includes the Sunset Staff, which serves the Sunset Advisory Board, which in turn, advises the Legislature. The Board consists of:
* Five State Senators: Glenn Hegar, Jr (Chair), Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, Joan Huffman, Robert Nichols, and John Whitmire
* Five State Representatives: Dennis Bonnen (Vice Chair), Rafael Anchia, Byron Cook, Linda Harper-Brown, and Larry Taylor
* Members from the public at large: Charles McMahen and Lamont Jefferson
The Sunset Staff studies every agency under review, and files a report with their findings and recommendations. They filed their report for TxDOT Sunset Review on June, 2008 (the archived report is no longer posted). The Sunset Advisory Board reviewed the Sunset Staff Report, and convened public hearings prior to issuing its own recommendations to the Legislature.
The Legislature did not pass comprehensive reform of TxDOT; however, it shortened the review period to two years. So TxDOT is under Sunset Review again for this session. The Sunset Staff is reviewing TxDOT’s progress since 2009, and conveying their findings to the Sunset Advisory Board.
Issue 3, “public involvement efforts, customer relationships and information sharing,” identifies five categories for improvement(pdf):
* Require TxDOT to develop and implement a public involvement policy that guides and encourages more meaningful public involvement efforts agency wide.
* Require TxDOT to develop standard procedures for documenting complaints and for tracking and analyzing complaint data.
* TxDOT should provide a formal process for staff with similar responsibilities to share best practices information.
* TxDOT should provide central coordination of the department’s major marketing campaigns.
* TxDOT should make its website easier to use.
Each of these five public involvement goals are at least 75% complete, according to the Sunset Staff Progress Report.
Sunset Staff 2010 Progress Report (pdf)
Citizens’ Transportation Coalition’s comments on the Sunset Staff Report of June 3, 08(pdf)
Lone Star Sierra Club Comments on the Sunset Staff report of June 3, 08 (pdf)