Wastrels at the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority went panhandling last week, hitting up the VIA board for bus fare to build toll roads. That's how an innocent-sounding suggestion to merge the two agencies twisted itself in my mind after attending last week's joint board meeting on the topic.
I did a little deadline-pressure finger-punching this afternoon on the City-County Transportation Task Force's proposal to merge the “Masters of Mass Transit” with the “Toll Road Troubadours,” aka the Alamo RMA.
We're no Pat Driscoll, but we couldn't help wondering just what the debt-riddled, publicly ridiculed RMA was bringing to the deal.
As we get better acquainted with the players and their driving records, it came as no wonder ARMA Director Bill Thornton opened the meeting by giving County Judge Nelson Wolff serious plaudits by suggesting that any progress made in the future on creating a “multi-modal” transportation network in San Antonio will all be all thanks to Wolff.
No entity with life-sustaining funds flowing through its limbs wants to be out of the game. A body in motion tends to stay in motion (until dismantled by progressive taxpayers demanding accountability and progress, I even now hear some suggesting). Politics, itchy backs, and slime.
On a positive note, our transportation arcana is finally taking up the question of light rail, rapid transit, and our growing peddle culture. There is receptivity being expressed for creating an open, community-based planning process (“with a strong education and advocacy component,” the recommedation reads) like Envision Central Texas.
Then there is the urge to merge.
“Is there any reason the VIA image would be enhanced by the marriage with a toll-road group?” VIA board member Lou Miller asked.
And what about the debt?
Debt? At the RMA? First mention we'd heard in the well-worn meeting's minutes. Turns out there's $10 million worth. Thanks, Lou.
My recommendation for saving the RMA would be to sell off all those years worth of engineering and environmental studies on the U.S. 281 toll-road debacle. It was RMA Director Terry Brechtel's thought, too. Go check the minutes if you don't believe me.
`If watching the road builders is your bailiwick, check out the Transportation Task Force report yourself.`