Yellow to Green by Michael Quinn Sullivan

With the Texas Department of Transportation ditching a shade of yellow, taxpayers are going to save some green: about $2 million a year.

TxDOT executive director Phil Wilson explained to me last week that for decades the agency has been painting transportation equipment a shade of yellow known as “federal yellow.”

Since World War II, equipment would come from the manufacturers into TxDOT’s possession painted just any ol’ shade yellow. The first thing TxDOT would do? Paint the brand-new vehicle’s the “federal yellow” shade before sticking on the TxDOT logo.

A TxDOT employee recently suggested the agency could save some cash by doing away with the expensive painting practice. The equipment might go to the field in slightly different shades of yellow, but that’s usually the case after working in the sun and dirt for a few weeks anyway.

A couple million dollars a year might seem like a pittance to an agency that spends billions, but Mr. Wilson and his team deserve credit for starting to look careful at ways to maximize dollars by re-thinking the way they do the taxpayers’ business.

Taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill — at TxDOT or anywhere else — on the basis of “that’s how we’ve always done things.”

About Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is president Empower Texans, and its premier project: Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. The Fort Worth Star Telegram said Sullivan “slays taxpayer dragons in Austin… When the heat is on in Austin, Michael Quinn Sullivan knows how to make it even hotter.” Dubbed one of the 25 most influential Texans by Texas Monthly, Sullivan is known for holding politicians’ feet to the fire. A former newspaper reporter, Capital Hill staffer and think tank vice president, Sullivan lives in Austin with his family.

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