House Representative

Zerwas, John

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 06/03/2008

Rep. Zerwas Agrees with Sunset Recommendations: Wants to See Transportation Commissioner Elected

Austin On Monday, June 2nd, 2008 State Representative John Zerwas welcomed the recommendations of the Sunset Advisory Commission for the Texas Department of Transportation and extended his gratitude for the hard work conducted by the Sunset Commission staff.



Rep. Zerwas made halting the current Trans-Texas Corridor project a top priority since becoming State Representative for District 28. Rep. Zerwas believes there is new momentum for true reform at TXDoT and hopefully abandonment of the Trans-Texas Corridor project. The Sunset Commission report only affirms that the current direction of transportation policy in Texas is not in the best interest of the overall public good.



Rep. Zerwas agrees that the Transportation Commission should be abolished but should be replaced by an elected Commissioner of Transportation, not a state appointee. Rep. Zerwas submitted his official comments to the Sunset Commission this past January. The letter is attached to this press release. Rep. Zerwas also
co-authored House Bill 154 last session which would have established the elected office of Transportation Commissioner.



"I want to see the Legislature take this opportunity to work for genuine change at TXDoT and work to create a coherent, transparent and progressive statewide transportation plan. I believe an elected commissioner would be more accountable and responsive to both the Legislature and Texas voters."



Further information regarding Rep. Zerwas' work on this issue can be obtained by contacting Representative Zerwas's capitol office at (888) 827-1560.



Attached letter:



January 11, 2008


Mr. Joey Longley
Director
Texas Sunset Commission
P.O. Box 13066
Austin, TX 78711-3066



Dear Director Longley,


Thank you for extending the deadline for public comment on the Sunset Commission's review of the Texas Department of Transportation, I know the constituents of my district appreciate the extra time to make their voices heard.



The Texas Department of Transportation provides invaluable service to the citizens of our great state and I am grateful for their work. However, my constituents and I are deeply concerned by the policies enacted by the commission and executed by the department.



For example, the Trans-Texas Corridor project remains of most concern and was conceived with little legislative or public input. Further, the recent drastic cuts in funding by the department for future projects have left many questions and dire predictions about the future of transportation in Texas.



I recommend for the Sunset Commission's consideration the option of abolishing the unelected five member Transportation Commission and replace it with an elected Commissioner of Transportation. This past legislative session I coauthored House Bill 154 to accomplish that very purpose. I strongly believe all the voters of Texas should have the right to directly hold our transportation policy makers accountable similar to the Commissioner of Agriculture, Attorney General and Comptroller of Public Accounts.



I look forward to the work of the Sunset Commission and the recommendations you will provide to the 81st Legislature. Thank you for your work to improve our great state.



Sincerely,



Representative John Zerwas, M.D.
House District 28
Texas House of Representatives



Contact:
Bryan W. Law
512-463-0657