October 13, 2008

Around Town : Jones gets endorsement; Eckhardt on CAMPO

  • Woodie Jones received the AAS endorsement for the CJ spot on the 3rd Court of Appeals. This comes as a huge surprise considering that Jones is by far the more qualified and capable candidate (not to mention having far more experience ON the Court than his opponent).

    Yeah, the Statesman endorsed a Democrat in a judicial race. Shocked the hell outta me, too.

  • Sam Houston and Linda Yanez picked up some important endorsements from the DMN and HousChron
  • In advance of tonight's CAMPO meeting, Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt released the following:

    Just over one year ago, at the height of public outcry over toll roads, the Policy Board of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) unanimously passed a set of covenants to govern the use of toll revenue collected from the Phase II toll roads. The covenants generally require that toll revenues stay within two miles of the road on which they were generated. The covenants allow for diversion of excess toll revenues from one toll road corridor to other projects only after specific public input and a 2/3 vote of the CAMPO Policy Board. Finally, the covenants require that tolls be reduced and eventually eliminated after the debt for the toll road has been retired and potential improvement projects within the corridor have been exhausted. On Monday, the CAMPO Policy Board will consider overturning some of these covenants, including the public meeting requirements.

    The first of the toll roads formerly known as Phase II is 290E, also known as the Manor Expressway. Because the project cannot stand on its own merits from a financing perspective the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) is proposing to “backstop” the debt financing of 290E with toll revenue from 183A through the creation of a “system.” In this system comprised of 290E and 183A, toll revenue and resultant debt capacity/obligation for both roads would be commingled and belong to the system, not to the transportation shed in which the user fees were collected. This diversion of revenue is exactly the circumstance the covenants were designed to address.

    Under this circumstance the public comment provisions in the covenants should kick in. But they haven’t. Although the covenants require that a Statement of Purpose be developed and that public hearings be held both region-wide and within the donor corridor, none of these steps have been taken by CAMPO. The CTRMA seeks to waive these requirements. Some have even suggested repealing the covenants entirely.

    No word on who would like to kill the covenants. Of course, it's probably the usual suspects, like Gerald Daugherty, who love them some toll roads and hate the pesky input from their constituents. If you live in Travis County Commissioner Precinct 3, help out Karen Huber today.

  • We've all known for quite some time that the SBOE is populated with a lot of Republican nuts. Take this mad old cow...


    I know... the haircut does kind of remind me of a friend's mother who last sported that 'do in 1993. However, this isn't that mother. This is Gail 'Freakshow' Lowe who represents a swath of Texas stretching from the Hill Country to the Red River on the SBOE. She's just your normal, average, everyday lunatic who thinks:

    1)Evolution is a theory without understanding what a 'theory' means in natural sciences
    2)Teh Gays are Teh Bad
    3)Her opponents are not family friendly, whatever the hell that means

    Gail, this the SBOE not one of your nutter tent revivals. If you don't want to take the damn job seriously, then we'll surely find someone to replace you. I hate stupidity and incompetence and you are cursed with a plethora of both.

  • Posted by mcblogger at October 13, 2008 10:15 AM

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