A Time to Stand
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
February 5, 2007
On Monday, January 22, 2007 your Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) met to consider among other things whether our City and County would leave Bexar County open to tolling and the Trans-Texas Corridor as proposed by our Governor and his appointed representatives on TxDOT. The MPO regrettably consists of effectively more unelected staffers from various agencies casting serious public policy votes, than it does elected officials you can hold accountable at the ballot box!
What follows are the verbatim contents of my letter to Governor Rick Perry sent after the MPO meeting:
"At last Monday's Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meeting my fellow Commissioner Lyle Larson sought to reinstate overpasses on 281 North of Loop 1604 in lieu of the TxDOT-planned tolling of this stretch of the road. Two VIA Board members on the MPO voted with Commissioner Larson and me on this measure. Unfortunately from reliable sources, I am informed that the TxDOT District Engineer David Casteel and Hope Andrade, your appointment to the TxDOT Commission, sought to reprimand or punish two of the MPO Board members representing VIA for their support for Commissioner Larson. Furthermore, the House Transportation Chair Mike Krusee told VIA that you told him that VIA's legislative program was effectively dead in the current session as a result of their MPO vote.
"TxDOT leadership has begun to take on a very different and mean-spirited tone of late. "Ric Williamson and his group take any discussion that seems to move away from their core position as a threat," said Senate Transportation Chair John Carona of Dallas as reported by Ben Wear of the Austin American Statesman on January 18. It appears as though at least some of his fellow Commissioners are modeling themselves after the Chair.
"This is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, especially coming from appointed officials who are unable to be held accountable by the public. Though you are a toll road proponent, I respect your right to disagree. I know from my time of service with you that you would certainly respect my right to disagree as well as that of our VIA Board members. I respectfully ask that your appointees and staff do the same."
This is somewhat difficult to have to write Governor Perry especially when I know that TxDOT has historically been a "class-act" State agency. Ray Stotzer and John Kelly, former District Engineers for TxDOT as well as the current District Engineer David Casteel have been class acts. Sadly, the ill-conceived Trans-Texas Corridor and the State-mandated toll roads have worn heavily on TxDOT's current leadership here and in Austin.
Hopefully, our Bexar County Delegation in the House and the Senate will have the courage to stand up where our Governor has allowed special interests, the highway lobby in particular, to steamroller our people. It is in the hands of the Texas Legislature presently meeting, to correct the injustice. Contact your officials in the Legislature and urge them to act!