Perez's stint as toll-road front man

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Perez’s stint as toll-road front man
By Pat Driscoll
October 10, 2007

Richard Perez, selected as the new president of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, is one of the most effective toll-road advocates around.

Richard Perez

As chairman of the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the past two years, Perez was a tenacious fighter for some 70 miles of planned toll roads. Yet, I never saw him try to bully anyone. He was dogged but always a gentleman.

Those are powerful qualities.

Perez skidded into the toll controversy in August 2005, just two months after starting his second term on City Council and taking over as MPO chairman, when he helped beat back demands for an independent study of local toll plans.

Toll critics soon made Perez a top target for his “deplorable behavior AGAINST the PEOPLE.”

Over the next year, Perez found himself looking for a new MPO director, admonishing a state transportation official in a public meeting, contemplating potential impacts of high gas prices on future toll roads and digging in against cries to revert a U.S. 281 toll plan back to a gas-tax only plan.

Perez left the MPO last May with as much clamor as ever. An effort led by Mayor Phil Hardberger to keep him on the board, which included a sudden policy change, drew shrieks from critics and the mayor soon dropped the idea.

But now Perez is back in the spotlight, and he’ll likely be a strong spokesman for toll roads.

One Reply to “Perez's stint as toll-road front man”

  1. Joe J. Bernal

    I am comfident Richard Perez will do a good job as head of the SA Greater Chamber of Commerce, but I vehemently disagree with him on toll roads. The state is once more shifting another state cost to local taxpayers. It has been happening to public schools and institutions of higher education, especailly with our Jr. College system. And now it’s with toll roads built on land already paid for by taxpayers. And adding salt to the injury, TxDOT is using state money to promote the issue.

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