Are we supposed to take this “task force” seriously? They call this a “community” effort? Not when only pro-toll, Chamber of Commerce, big money wheelers and dealers are on this task force, with the exception of our good friend Bill Barker, transportation planner and expert who has worked in the industry for more than 30 years. With tollers Hope Andrade, Richard Perez, Jack Leonhardt, Jim Reed, and Terrell McCombs on the task force, we’re not holding our breath to see any non-toll, affordable, self-sustaining transportation solutions out of this crowd.
However, the formation of this task force is an admission of guilt that our region has failed to plan for our future transportation needs responsibly and with any foresight. Bill Barker has warned for years that we’re approaching “peak oil” (that the Chinese predicted to happen in 2010, where were we?) and that gas prices would soon reach levels that forced motorists to look for other modes of transportation. This task force also demonstrates that toll roads with gas at $4 a gallon and rising are totally unsustainable.
Bexar County Commissioners Court
For immediate release:
County, city form group to look at transportation issues
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Mayor Phil Hardberger have appointed an 11-member Transportation Task Force that will assess existing transportation plans and priorities in order to make local policy as well as state and federal legislative recommendations. The task force will begin its work in July and make a state legislative recommendation in November, with final proposals delivered by the end of the year.
As San Antonio and Bexar County continue to grow at a healthy pace, it is
imperative to ensure the transportation systems are viable, efficient and
integrated to support the growing population and lessen the environmental
impacts. Rising fuel prices, the overall economic downturn throughout the
country and stricter federal pollution standards make the work of the task force even more critical and timely.
“We’ve learned that when this community works together on something, we can really get a lot accomplished,” Judge Wolff said. “We look forward to creating a strategy for successful transportation planning that can take us well into the future.”
The task force’s scope of work will specifically cover existing transportation plans and priorities, modes of travel, financing options, and regulatory and legislative contexts. The group also will compare this community’s transportation system to comparable regions in the state and country, critically review existing plans and investment priorities and provide a set of “next steps” for local transportation agencies.
The task force will work with support from the staffs of the County, City, San Antonio Mobility Coalition, Alamo Area Council of Governments, Texas
Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Planning Organization, Regional Mobility Authority and VIA Metropolitan Transit.
The members of the task force are:
● Hope Andrade, former chairwoman of the Texas Transportation Commission
● Bill Barker, Sierra Club and Green Space Alliance member
● Mary Briseno, VIA board member
● Jack Leonhardt, AACOG board I and mayor of City of Windcrest
● James Lifshutz, VIA board member
● Terrell McCombs, San Antonio Mobility Coalition chairman
● Richard Perez, Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce president/CEO
and former city councilman
● Rick Pych, VIA board member
● Jim Reed, Regional Mobility Authority board member
● Linda Chavez-Thompson, VIA board member
● Derrick Howard, CPS Energy board member
“I’m very pleased with the lineup of individuals we’ll have on this task force,” said Mayor Hardberger, who will chair the group with Judge Wolff.
“Developing a comprehensive transportation plan for our area is critical as we continue to grow, and we must do it together.”
The task force’s meetings will be open to the public and resources and reports will be posted to a Web site hosted on the County’s site at www.bexar.org.