More 'No Rail' Reactions
Council members respond
By Katherine Gregor,
4:18PM, Wed. Mar. 10, 2010
Laura Morrison says "Don't blame me for the push-back," Randi Shade says, "It'll be better in a year," and explains the bond fund scenario. All reactions from city council members to Mayor Lee Leffingwell's "No 2010 Rail Vote" announcement, more below.
Morrison called this morning to clarify that while she had raised concerns, she didn't lead the "push-back" on the rail referendum date. (In fact, she was surprised by Lee Leffingwell's announcement today that the vote should be delayed, perhaps to 2011.)
Matt Curtis, the mayor's communication director, called to apologize for the misleading information in today's article on urban rail and the strategic mobility plan.
Mike Martinez issued a statement saying he fully supported Leffingwell. Sheryl Cole had expressed particular concerns about whether sufficient financial mechanisms were in place, and the economic impact on the city.
As Shade characterized it by phone today, concern on council had become widespread, about getting all the issues sufficiently addressed in time. Rather than rush a council decision in April or May - necessary for a November vote - Shade said it was prudent to take more time. "I suspect staff is relieved," said Shade, while praising them for doing everything possible on a fast-track basis. Here's her emailed statement:
I believe Mayor Leffingwell’s call to delay consideration of the urban rail component of the proposed 2010 transportation bond package shows prudence and good judgment. We need solid answers to some big questions about urban rail before we ask Austinites to vote on this important matter, and I am confident that this delay will allow us to get to those answers. In the meantime, I also believe it’s appropriate to continue to move forward with the road, sidewalk, bike lane and trail components of the proposed [$100 million] transportation bond package this November. We should err on the side of action when it comes to fixing our traffic problems. I will not only be supporting but also co-sponsoring the mayor’s proposal to Council to utilize half of the bonding capacity we have under our current tax rate to give Austin voters the opportunity later this year to make a dent in our very long list of transportation needs.