As stated in my previous blog posting, that handful of vociferously deluded Road Warriors have begun organizing into PACs and colluding against the relatively innocuous Proposition 1 on this electoral ballot. This is not surprising. But if they are indeed able to successfully prevaricate and manipulate the electorate against it on Nov. 2, in no way would that bode well for any future transportation bond proposition that provides choices other than building more roads. And so, after listing eight common sense reasons to vote “Yes” on Proposition 1, we’ll discover who these road lobbyists are and how they are structured.
Eight Common Sense Reasons to Vote YES on Proposition 1
1) Focusing on building more roads to the exclusion of all else is what has caused Austin’s transportation problems.
2) If vehicle-miles of travel were to increase by 5%/year, roadway lane-miles would need to increase by 5% each year just to maintain the initial congestion level.*
3) It would require at least twice the level of current-day road expansion funding to attempt a “road construction only” strategy.*
4) In growing areas adding capacity of all types is essential to handle the growing demand and avoid rapidly rising congestion.*
5) Smart Growth characteristics should be incorporated into new developments so that new economic development does not generate the same amount of traffic volume as existing developments.*
6) TxDOT can only afford 30% of the funds needed to make required improvements, more than 40% of its budget goes to maintenance, and it will go broke by 2012.
7) Because of ‘optimism bias’ toll road bonds are routinely graded as ‘BBB’ while all three major U.S. financial rating agencies have reaffirmed Austin’s ‘AAA’ long-term rating.
8) “TxDOT has supplemented state and federal revenue allocations with private partners and borrowed funds generated by various bond issues (since 2002),” says Susan Combs (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts). “TxDOT must service this existing debt before spending any funds on new projects.”
(* Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and thus TxDOT)
In sum, Proposition 1 seeks to make transportation improvements by increasing the efficiency of the existing system right at the heart, which will then begin emanating throughout the whole Central Texas Region. According to TTI, “these treatments are particularly effective in three ways:
1) “They are relatively low cost and high benefit which is efficient from a funding perspective;
2) “They can usually be implemented quickly;
3) “And they can be tailored to individual situations, making them more useful because they are flexible.”
With Proposition 1, the City of Austin is attempting to begin rectifying over 40 years of pro-road tunnel-vision…Vote “Yes.”
The Nitwits Who Would Have You Do Otherwise
Sensible Transportation Solutions for Austin PAC (Filed 10/5/2010)
Campaign Treasurer: Dominic Chavez; Person Appointing the Treasurer: Dominic Chavez; Media Contact: Ed Wendler
Financial muscle (to the tune of $30k) provided by former Texas Monthly publisher (and wannabe political player): Mike Levy
Engineers Affirming Sustainable Transportation (EAST) PAC (Filed 10/5/2010)
Campaign Treasurer (and former treasurer of Coalition on Sensible Transportation): Don Zimmerman; Person Appointing Treasurer: Jim Skaggs
Austinites for Action (501c4)
Their Mission (I’m not making this up): “Break the lock on our city politics”
Executive Director: Carole Keeton Strayhorn; Advisory Board: Dominic Chavez, Jim Skaggs, Don Zimmerman (among others)
Members: None; But for more information you can contact?: Carole Keeton Strayhorn
Old Texas Proverb: “You can put your boots into the oven, but they’ll never turn into buns.”