That’s what Chairman of the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (ARMA) Bill Thornton thinks of citizen input on how government uses OUR tax dollars. He considers heeding the will of the voters and allowing the taxpayers a say in how their hard-earned money is spent “mob rule” stopping progress. It’s hardly progress to levy a toll tax on freeways and rights of way we’ve already built and paid for! Last I checked, our Republic was founded on the principles of representative government of the people, by the people, for the people. We have EVERY right and, in fact, it’s our duty to redress our government for grievances! Thornton’s total contempt for the public and for citizen input that’s contrary to his opinions give plenty of reason to call for his resignation from the Board. That’s why an unelected tolling authority board is not only unwise, it threatens our democratic form of government.
Also of note, the RMA is flat BROKE! Their assets equal $113,670 and their liabilities are also $113,670. They’ve blown through at least $10 million in YOUR tax money, mostly loans they have no way of repaying except by tolls, in two short years. The RMA hasn’t built a single project in that time and has spent nearly all of its money on bureaucracy and trying to sell the public something they clearly don’t want: tolls. So now their sole source of funding is TxDOT, who they claim to be “independent” from.
JoAnn Walsh, former Executive Director of the MPO, was in attendance at the RMA Board Meeting July 12 in her new role with Parsons-Brinkerhoff, a highway engineering firm now most known for its association with the failures of the tunnels on Boston’s Big Dig that cost a woman her life this week. Walsh went right from her role in allocating tax dollars to toll roads to a lucrative private sector job that will profit from her government connections and from toll roads (read about it here).
Other companies wishing to feed at the public trough who were in attendance at yesterday’s meeting include:
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson’s appointee to the Board, Mr. Jess Jenkins, tried to speak out and asked if the Board would take into consideration the opposition to tolling Bandera Rd that’s been expressed in Leon Valley. Thornton and Brechtel’s answers were bureaucratic gobbley-gook saying that a “no-build” option is always on the table. Thornton tried to bring up that if the people try to reject an elevated tollway that they’d then have to pay for 17 overpasses to keep the project on the ground. What boloney! No one is asking for that, Bandera Rd. is perfectly suited for a parkway type of design with a possible bus rapid transit down the middle. What we hear residents saying is they don’t want their city street turned into a highway, period. Synchronize lights, perhaps streamline the traffic flow, especially during rush hour, but highway…NO! Other options are considered “impossible” or laughable by the RMA which is what the Board did when they contemplated 17 overpasses on Bandera….laughed. So much for respect of fellow Board members and their wishes to heed the will of area residents and businesses. So those are the ultimate “options” in a world according to the RMA and its partner, TxDOT. It’s do it their way, or “no build.”