Rising oil prices could put the brakes on future road projects around Amarillo.
A TxDOT budget crunch is leaving few options for new construction. With soaring oil prices driving up the cost of asphalt, TxDOT says it's running out of money to keep building quality roads. "The current gas tax and motor vehicle license fees that we take in don't cover what we need," says spokesman Paul Braun.
So now TxDOT is looking at scrapping future road extensions and lane additions at places like I-40 in west Amarillo. It's something area delivery drivers don't want to see. "It's really congested out there at quittin' time now," says pizza delivery driver Bob Heberling. "I think it's terrible because we definitely need some ease in the congestion," says Chris Hulse.
Braun says there is an alternative. "Toll roads in some of our congested areas, like public private partnerships, some creative financing that's going to bring in more money." Braun notes current maintenance projects would not be canceled.