Link to article slamming Adkisson here.
Op/Ed on Express-News attack of Good Guy Tommy Adkisson
By Terri Hall
Your editorial attacking the leadership of Commissioner Tommy Adkisson couldn’t be more off-base. Adkisson has jumped-in to defend the disenfranchised in our community by LEADING the way in keeping our freeways toll-free. When thousands of San Antonians have spoken out against toll roads and the appointed and elected officials on the local planning board (MPO) continue to ignore the outcry, Commissioner Adkisson risked his own political hide by standing with the people against the big money in town. One of the politicians who ignored the public outcry against toll roads is one of Adkisson’s opponents, former councilwoman and MPO Chair Sheila McNeil.
Your editorial also got the facts wrong. Adkisson took the helm at the MPO with a major focus on fixing 281 and 1604 without tolls and on improving mass transit. He introduced an amendment to re-instate the EXACT same non-toll plan for 281 that had already been vetted, adopted, and in the MPO plans for 5 years (before Governor Perry’s shift to tolling everything). TxDOT wrongfully claimed this non-toll plan wasn’t properly studied. It is TxDOT’s toll agenda that suddenly made the original overpass and expansion plan for 281 “insufficient.”
It’s also inaccurate to claim Adkisson put the stimulus money and interchange project at risk with his proposals. Adkisson merely proposed doing an equal swap from two pots of money to fulfill TxDOT’s arcane matching fund policies, which are discretionary and optional. Transportation Commission approval of the swap was entirely possible if the board had gotten behind it and spoken with one voice, but instead they chose to cower in the corner at TxDOT’s threats to yank the funds if the MPO dared to return 281 to a non-toll project.
Adkisson then withdrew that part of the proposal well before the board was set to vote on it, and testimony from Alamo Regional Mobility Authority Executive Director Terry Brechtel on the day of the final vote affirmed, on the record, that Adkisson’s non-toll amendments DID NOT jeopardize the stimulus funds or the interchange project in ANY WAY.
So what the Editorial Board calls “ill-considered” was, in reality, a power play by an out of control agency bent on double taxing congestion-weary motorists to use a freeway they’ve already built and paid for. The grassroots of this community hail Commissioner Adkisson’s heroic leadership on transportation issues, and urge the voters of Precinct 4 to re-elect this outstanding visionary.
Terri Hall is the Founder/Director of the non-partisan, grassroots San Antonio Toll Party and an Express-News City Brights blogger.