A New Boom for Oil, but a Bust for State's Rural Roads

COTULLA — At a convention center in this city 70 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, Dimmit County Judge Francisco Ponce said this week what many of the 200 people in the room were thinking.

Texas Department of Transportation officials explained why the agency needed to move forward with plans to convert some well-used paved roads around South Texas to gravel. For Ponce, the explanation exposed a long-standing problem in the agency’s perspective.

"TxDOT’s priorities are not in the rural counties," he told the agency’s leadership, drawing cheers. "I don’t know how they can sit ...

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