David Stall of Corridor Watch was able to get this release out before I even arrived home from the hearing. He says it best, so read the gist of what happened below…
For Immediate Release
August 8, 2006
TxDOT FAILS TO ACCOMMODATE HUNDREDS AT SAN ANTONIO PUBLIC HEARING
SAN ANTONIO, TX – Hundreds of Texans were unable to attend and participate in the TTC-35 DEIS Public Hearing held in a San Antonio high school on August 8, 2006. When the East Central High School Cafeteria reached its 600-person capacity the doors were closed. Many of those left standing outside had driven great distances, some from as far away as Houston.
Apparently TxDOT didn’t realize that San Antonio is the 2nd most populated city in Texas. In fact the Alamo city is. And TxDOT might take note that it is also the 7th most populated city in the entire United States. Really something we would have expected them to have already known.
How did this happen? Was TxDOT unaware that metropolitan Bexar County’s population had grown to near 2 million? Did they really expect that a meeting room with a 600 person capacity would be adequate, especially given the vigorous debate over the TTC and toll projects in Bexar County?
This stands in stark contrast to Temple, population less than 55,000. When a stunning 1,600 people showed up for the TTC-35 DEIS Public Hearing in Temple, TxDOT needed only to add an additional 100 chairs to accommodate the crowd. And that wasn’t the only big turn out by Texans who want to let TxDOT know what they think about the TTC. Waco attracted more than 1,000 and 800 in Floresville, just a stones throw from San Antonio.
What were they thinking? Were they thinking? Some suspicious types might even suspect an evil plot designed to repel the throngs of unhappy citizens who are taking advantage of their right to express their unhappiness. Certainly people will give a second thought before drive to San Antonio if there’s a chance they’ll end up standing outside instead of listening and speaking inside.
CorridorWatch.org however is more inclined to suspect it was just horribly poor planning. The kind of planning we fear will be commonplace with the massive Trans Texas Corridor project that’s currently being designed in secret without coordination with regional transportation planners or meaningful citizen review and comment.
Of course, TxDOT will hold an additional Public Hearing in San Antonio in an attempt to reach those who were turned away. Will they move to a larger facility where everyone, even if there’s more than 600, can be assured that they can get inside the building? No they won’t.
The next San Antonio DEIS Tier One Public Hearing will be held on Thursday, August 10, 2006, again at the East Central High School cafeteria, 7173 FM 1628, San Antonio, Texas. The meeting room will open at 5:00 p.m. for open house style displays and discussion with a formal presentation beginning at 6:30 p.m., followed by oral comments from the public.
SUPPORTERS FAIL TO IMPRESS
Only three speakers in San Antonio were heard publicly addressing TxDOT in support of TTC-35. That was a surprise since a couple Pro-Toll Pro-Corridor organizations made a plea for their members and the public to testify for TTC-35. Their call for support even got some press coverage but didn’t seem to produce any results.
NOTE ADDED BY TERRI: In fact, the pro-corridor speakers were booed off the stage. They just grinned and took their seats. Yep, grinned…they think they sit high atop their untouchable, special interest ivory tower. Well, it’s about to get knocked down November 7!