What passes for “conservatism” around here is amazing

Those clever rocket surgeons down at the Department of Transportation are proceeding with their plans to turn what used to be perfectly serviceable paved state highways into gravel roads, and reduce the speed limits down accordingly.

The problem is the oilpatch trucks. They’re heavy, and there’s a bunch of ’em. In areas where the oil bidness is booming, the trucks have ruined the roads, the roads are dangerous, and they need repair immediately. I can think of worse problems to have, given that the energy boom is also great for the Texas economy and creates jobs and all.

But TxDoT – the transporation folks – are dead broke, and claim they don’t have the money to repave the roads. That’s because the Republicans in charge around here have starved all of state gu’mint so they can go to their Tea Party meetings, smile real big, and tell ’em how they starved gu’mint. That’s after they bash Obama for a while.

But here’s one teeny weenie little problem: what happens after they un-pave a road and gravel it? They’ll reduce the speed limit, from the current 70-75 down to 30 or 35 mph. Do you think for a minute that a trucker having to drive a hundred miles or more down that road isn’t going to look for an alternate route – which is still paved and at the higher speed limit – to make up all that lost time? For commercial truck traffic, time is literally money.

Of course they will. And in many cases, they’ll figure out an alternate route. It may take them far out of their way, but when the speed limit differential – 40 miles per hour difference – is that high, they can go far out of their way and still save a little time.

So now, what used to be one ruined road TxDoT won’t fix will become two ruined roads TxDoT won’t fix — both for the exact same traffic.

Now how the hell is that “conservative”? Just asking.