Union Visit Livens Up CAMPO Meeting

Picture Cap Metro with a big bull's-eye painted on it.

Union members in the middle of a contract impasse with a Capital Metro contractor found their way to the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization's Transportation Policy Board on Monday night, proving the point that CAMPO has become "prime-time live" for almost any type of transportation dispute in Central Texas.

Members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local Chapter 1091 managed to win a majority of the CAMPO board's support to delay the reappointment of Lee Walker and John Trevino to the Capital Metro board for at least a month. Walker and Trevino's two-year terms on the board expire this week. Both have served for eight years, and a bill passed this session tossed out term limits on the Cap Met board, giving CAMPO the ability to appoint them for another two years.

The concerns about Capital Metro started, but did not end, with the union members. Mayor Pro Tem Danny Thomas wanted to hear more about union accusations of Capital Metro's involvement in the negotiations, which is prohibited by law and which Cap Met has denied. Once the union was out of the way, though, County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty piled it on. Daugherty, a frequent critic of Capital Metro, still wants to see a portion of Cap Met's 1-cent sales tax returned for road construction. Union members were singing Daugherty's song, and he assured them that they were wrong if they expected a new direction from Capital Metro.

A handful, like Austin Mayor Will Wynn, wanted to separate the contract dispute from the appointment of board members. After Daugherty's strong protests, though, a majority of the board supported a one-month delay for more answers from Capital Metro. The final vote was 17-6.

Next month, the vote on Capital Metro appointments will be posted again, and only elected officials who represent the Capital Metro service area will be allowed to vote: Wynn, Thomas, Daugherty, Austin City Council members Betty Dunkerley and Brewster McCracken, plus Commissioner Karen Sonleitner and County Judge Sam Biscoe of Travis County, and Commissioner Frankie Limmer of Williamson County.

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