It seems someone at Texas Department of Transportation is trying to save money. This is not because of any altruistic desire to provide financial relief to us taxpayers. It’s because the legislature and the Commission told them they had to do it.
Now, welcome to the weird world of “Bureaucrats Saving Money”.
A notice went out from TxDOT recently to nonprofits, businesses, area attractions, entertainment places and other heavily trafficked places in Texas that from now on, the DOT would no longer provide those nice green directional signs that help drivers find your place of operation. The only places that get those freebie signs from now on will be (big shock here) GOVERNMENT OFFICES. Everybody else can have them, but they have to pay $350 each.
Here’s where the money saving part comes in – pay close attention or you’ll miss it!
In the next 60 days, TxDOT is going to hire crews to go all over the state gathering up all the nongovernmental little green signs and tearing them down. After that, if you pony up the dough, they’ll send out another crew to put your sign back up.
Does anyone see the flaw in that approach to saving money?
If you are asking yourself, “Why tear down a perfectly good sign when you could just leave up the old one till it gets run over or struck by an asteroid?"
We asked Wally down at TxDOT that same question. His response came from the depths of 4,000 years of bureaucratic logic. “It wouldn’t be fair for all the people in the future that will have to pay for signs if we leave up the ones everyone got for free.”
If that sounds reasonable to you, stop reading right now and go back to smoking your bong! What follows will only upset you and ruin your buzz!
What’s wrong with the TxDOT “save money on sign maintenance costs” Plan?
1. It doesn’t save any money for a long time. The state is going to pay a whole bunch of money up front to tear down the old signs. This is money that could be more useful applied toward fixing a couple of the 2,000 Texas bridges that are long over due for repairs.
2. It wastes staff time and energy when you could simply start charging for all the new signs and for fixing the old ones when they get broken. Why blow hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to make things “fair”?
3. Neither the Commission nor the legislature said they had to do it this way. This was something the engineers came up with all on their own. It’s policy, not law!
Charging for signs pointing to your organization, agency or business was designed to reduce taxes, not institute new ones in the form of unnecessary fees.
4. If, in the past, it was advantageous to put up signs for free that helped confused drivers to find the flea market, the zoo, the museum, the fairgrounds or any one of the thousands of nonprofit human service agencies scattered across the state, then why is it now better to tear all those most useful signs down again and hope all the folks out there can afford the new fees?
If the signs served a useful purpose, then why make it hard for these agencies and organizations working often at low pay for long hours under high stress. These guys are doing good works and providing community with a better quality of life. What’s so bad about leaving up their existing signs and giving them time to replace them all over time?
If this kind of goofiness bothers you, contact your state senator, representative and local TxDOT District engineer.
Who knows, they might change the policy.
Just one man’s opinion…
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