Mayor Pro Tem chimes in on rail delay
By Wells Dunbar,
2:27PM, Wed. Mar. 10, 2010
Should we be surprised at the news of a rail delay?
The announcement on the mayor's blog today reflects Lee Leffingwell's statement at a recent City Council meeting regarding the funding and logistical challenges facing a rail vote: "We're not going to put forth a proposal that that is not completely cooked."
It sounds like he has the full-throated support of at least one council member, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez, who writes the following on his Facebook page.
I strongly support Mayor Leffingwell’s position on delaying consideration of the City’s urban rail proposal until more planning has been done and more details have been finalized. As the newly-elected Chair of the Board of Capital Metro, I’m particularly sensitive to the need to ensure that promises made are promises kept. Like the mayor, I’m convinced that urban rail will ultimately be vital to the success of our overall transportation system in Austin and Central Texas, especially as commuter rail now begins to become a central component of that system. I believe this delay will also allow Capital Metro to demonstrate the utility of rail transit in Austin vis-à-vis the Red Line, which I am confident will be a success after it begins operations on March 22.
I also strongly support the mayor’s proposal to proceed with a $100 million transportation bond referendum this November focused on roads, sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails. We know that solving our traffic problems will require a generations-long, multi-modal approach, and I see no reason to wait to pursue investments we know we need to make.
Of course, there's some decidedly-less-sunnier reaction in the Twittersphere from former transportation commissioner Mike "M1EK" Dahmus. He tweets:
This is the worst possible news for urban rail - because it means the Red Line will have more time to show it's a failure.
Any other thoughts?