GUEST VIEW: Improving Permian Basin roads

By State Rep. Brooks Landgraf

This past week, two legislative committees met at the Texas Capitol to evaluate the effects of oil and gas production on Permian Basin highway infrastructure.

An increase in oil and gas production is always a good thing for Texas, but with it comes serious challenges to infrastructure here in the oil patch. There is a significant strain put on our roads that create huge repair costs and public safety concerns.

We’ve all seen it. Crumbling roads, over-sized trucks striking overpasses, traffic congestion and fatal traffic accidents are all troubling effects of the oil and gas boom that only promises to get bigger.

That’s why I requested that the Texas House Committee on Energy Resources evaluate the evolution of frac sand mining in the Permian Basin and how it may impact county infrastructure and oil and gas development. Additionally, the Texas House Committee on Transportation is investigating the impact energy exploration and production have on state and county roads. Both committees will soon be making recommendations about how to improve highways in energy-impacted areas like the Permian Basin.

Increased oilfield and sand mine activity means that more traffic is traveling on Permian Basin highways. Our region has two percent of the state’s population, but we have ten percent of the fatal automobile accidents. That has to change, and I took the lead in these hearings to improve our highways to save lives, make travel safer and to keep West Texas open for business.

A large portion of our state revenue comes directly from the oil and gas production that takes place right here in the Permian Basin. I will continue to fight to make sure West Texas receives a fair return on the resources we provide for the benefit of the entire state.

God bless Texas!

State Representative Brooks Landgraf serves Texas House District 81, which encompasses Andrews, Ector, Ward and Winkler counties. Landgraf lives in his hometown of Odessa with his wife, Shelby, and their daughter, Hollis Rose. He works as a fourth-generation West Texas cattle rancher and practices law at the firm of Todd, Barron, Thomason, Hudman & Bebout, P.C. in Odessa. An Eagle Scout, Landgraf is also active in several local non-profits.