Leon Valley residents don't want elevated toll lanes through their neighborhood

Link to story here.

Bandera Road is being considered for elevated toll lanes because of the NAFTA/CAFTA truck traffic passing through that area into Bandera. Same reason 281 and I-35 are on the hit list. Why should Texans have to disproportiately bear the tax burden for infrastructure that benefits the entire Nation’s commerce? Art Reyna is right; neither TxDOT nor the RMA has considered the economic impact of a flyover toll corridor or the impacts on health and neighborhoods. That’s why our grassroots citizen group formed; TxDOT and many of our politicians want to IGNORE public input, deny us a vote, and deny us the right of self-determination. It’s taxation without representation and they ought to take note of history…such foolish and arrogant behavior begets a taxpayer revolt!

Leon Valley has only one disputed race
By Lety Laurel
Express-News Staff Writer
Web Posted: 04/26/2006 12:01 AM CDT

Whether Bandera Road should someday have tolled elevated lanes through Leon Valley is becoming a major issue in this year’s City Council elections, even though there is only one contested race.

Mayor Chris Riley, 54, a legal assistant, is running unopposed, as is Jack O’Day Dean, 68, retired, for Place 4.

For Place 2, incumbent Hubert W. Lange, 72, retired, will face attorney Arthur “Art” Reyna Jr., 49.

Lange has lived in the city for 37 years and said he wants to continue working with the Texas Department of Transportation and the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority to extend elevated lanes over Bandera Road through the city to reduce traffic in residential areas.

“Currently Bandera Road is almost a parking lot and people are finding ways through residential areas to get where they’re going,” he said. “If we had the flyover through Leon Valley, that would return the surface streets to the citizens.”

Lange, who is seeking his second term, said he also wants the city to continue providing support for emergency services and public services such as parks, a library and citizens center. He’d also like to continue pursuing a Capital Improvement Program for streets and drainage and to develop a program to stimulate growth within the city to increase sales tax revenue.

“We need to lure more businesses into Leon Valley,” he said. “We have many vacant storefronts that have been vacant for quite some time, and we really need to make sure that emergency services are up to date and serve the citizens with EMS, fire and police.”

His opponent, Reyna, said a flyover isn’t what residents want. He said the current council hasn’t considered the potential impact it could have on the city.

“Residential property values will be lowered by virtue of having noise pollution,” he said. “The council has not considered how it virtually will destroy most businesses in Leon Valley and they have not considered what it means for the city’s sales tax base and what that will mean for those of us that will pay property tax and what we will have to do to compensate for the loss of sales tax.

Reyna has lived in the city for 20 years and said he supports attracting new businesses as a way to increase revenue for the city, instead of increasing property taxes. He said he supports open and responsive government.

Though he’s never served on a city council, Reyna was a state representative for six years and has been trained as a mediator. This makes him familiar with how government works and how to work with people with differing opinions, he said.

“I bring the ability to build consensus,” he said. “I understand how government works because I’ve been in it.”