Yellow To Green

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

For decades TxDOT has been painting transportation equipment a shade of yellow known as “federal yellow.”

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.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael is president and CEO of Empower Texans, and its premier project, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capital Hill staffer, think tank vice president and an Eagle Scout, Sullivan is married with three children. He divides his time between the Metroplex, the rest of Texas, and Austin.

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