San Antonio, TX, Monday, July 23, 2007 – Citizens against the current toll road policies and toll proponents will square off over the election of the new Chair of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Transportation Policy Board. In past years, the Chair position rotated between the City and the County. Ex-Councilman Richard Perez is the immediate past Chair, so tradition would dictate that it now goes to the County. Commissioner Tommy Adkisson has seniority and should be the next Chair. However, for the first time in recent memory, the Chair position is being challenged, which didn’t happen until toll roads came on the scene. (Read more background below)
WHO: Concerned citizens with San Antonio Toll Party
WHAT: Election of next MPO Chair. Citizens to testify FOR the election of Commissioner Tommy Adkisson as Chair of the MPO.
Metropolitan Planning Organization
Transportation Policy Board
To elect next Chairman
Monday, July 23
Meeting begins at 1:30 PM
Vote expected to take place closer to 3:00 PM
(when Commissioner Lyle Larson is expected to arrive)
Via Metro Center
1021 San Pedro
The City’s four new appointees marched in at their first meeting (June 25) and challenged the County for the Chair position. None has ANY experience on the Board and yet Councilwoman Sheila McNeil thinks she should lead the Board. It’s no secret the City’s voting block on the MPO has been rabidly pro-toll and that County Commissioners Tommy Adkisson and Lyle Larson are staunch opponents to the toll plans.
The City claims since Larson held the Chair position for two, (2) year terms that the City is entitled to two more years as Chair. However, there is nothing in the MPO bylaws that entitles them to two more years, and logic would seem to dictate that if the City wished to challenge Larson’s second term, they should have done it when he sought that second term, not years later when they lost the seat. In fact, the City has more appointees and thus more representation on the Board than does the County. The City also wishes to give more UN-ELECTED members voting powers, like the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (tolling authority) as if the two TxDOT votes aren't enough!
Toll opponents contend this is about toll roads and controlling this all-important Board that put 281 & 1604 among others into the toll plans in July 2004, with Larson being the lone dissenting vote. Opponents are now close to having a majority vote on the Board, and they’re insisting only elected officials who answer directly to the people should have the ability to vote to make multi-billion dollar tax decisions.
"It's about accountability and having the citizens' voices heeded rather than repeatedly ignored by un-elected boards who can now vote for unlimited new toll taxes. Commissioner Adkisson has been a stalwart hero of the grassroots in our fight, he's got 9 years experience on the MPO, and the County lacks sufficient representation on the Board. By every measure, Commissioner Adkisson should be the new Chair!" notes Terri Hall, Founder/Director of the San Antonio Toll Party and Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom