9/2/2003 12:00 AM
It takes pure dedication and a commitment to public service to travel to every county courthouse in Texas as an advocate for roadway safety. A dozen years of enthusiasm have kept J.W. Chism traveling those roadways, working his hardest to promote the Texas Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP), a state and federally funded program aimed at keeping Texas roads safe and properly maintained.
The goal of this program is to ensure that counties, cities and towns all over Texas receive the best possible road maintenance training and assistance available, for a nominal fee.
Funded by the Texas Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, LTAP began in 1984 to help counties and municipalities with low budgets get quality training on road maintenance and management practices.
“The object of this program is to get the guys to work smarter instead of harder,” said Chism, who manages LTAP within the Engineering, Utilities and Public Works Training Institute (EUPWTI). “We don’t do training for businesses or industry, only local governments.”
This assistance and training comes in the form of the Roads Scholar Training Program, the Lone Star Roads Newsletter, a video/document library of information on transportation related subjects and a technical assistance service.
“The LTAP program allows users to get training and technical assistance when they need it,” said Chism.
An important component of LTAP is the Roads Scholar Training Program, which offers low-cost, specialized training to county, municipal and road and bridge maintenance personnel. The program offers three levels of training: basic, advanced and the newly added master program.
Chism, a veteran of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, conducts much of the training himself, as well as relying on colleagues within EUPWTI. He also gets ideas from colleagues across the country.
“There’s an LTAP in every state,” he said. “We’re all tied together in a loose network. You learn what’s working and what’s not from others. It keeps you from making the same mistakes.”