Monday, November 26, 2007

Austin News and Flashback

Update: Krusee is going to Retire and will most likely be Toll Road Czar. He should not be on the CAMPO committee now.

I'm just going to link to some stuff...

M1ek talks about the good and bad of CAMPO taking rail planning away from Cap Metro. Discussions about Mike Krusee (A bit of a shady character), should not be had without also noting that Lee Walker is back for 2 more years. Some locals believe he was a major part of the 2000 election loss because of some pre-election decisions to not do more outreach and the fact that he and others gave in to demands from Republicans in the state house on Commuter and Light Rail.

Here's a fun flashback from my Master's PR/Thesis.

In the 1999 legislative session, Mike Krusee, a State Representative from Round Rock, authored new legislation that would let Capital Metro keep half of its cent sales tax and let voters decide what to do with the other half. The bill died in committee due to Capital Metro’s urging because the transit authority convinced lawmakers that they would have an election in 2000 and that the voters should be able to decide the fate of rail before another raid on Capital Metro’s sales tax revenue.

As 2000 loomed as the year for the final decision, the Capital Metro board was grappling with whether to hold the election in May or November. The main concern was getting federal funding and giving the community enough time to understand the details of the light rail plan. There were even attempts to satiate the road warriors that included Gerald Daugherty’s ROAD group. Mayor Kirk Watson floated an idea of putting road bonds on the ballot along with the rail election but it was criticized once again by Daugherty as insufficient. Daugherty still wanted money from Capital Metro for road building.

In 2003, another interesting development occurred in rail planning. State Representative Krusee, the new chairman of the Texas House of Representatives Transportation Committee was quoted at a private transportation meeting as saying that he would like to see a commuter rail system in Central Texas. Preferably, the lines would be located on existing Capital Metro right of way as well as the Union Pacific right of way located between San Marcos and his constituency in Round Rock. Representative Krusee proposed a starter red line replacing the 1998 consultant’s green line light rail in 2000. Consultants in 1998 believed that the green line was a better route for ridership production however it was turned down by the voters in 2000. It seemed that commuter rail was on Senator Krusee’s mind even before the 2000 election. In a 2000 Austin American Statesman article, he was quoted, “I wish they would be more open-minded to alternatives to light rail”.
In more news, the Statesman claims Capital Metro needs to be clearer in its book keeping after an article by Ben Wear about costs of the new commuter rail line. It's just another attack, but they better get used to it as it's gonna keep on coming with this line.

Jim Skaggs, Gerald Daugherty's best buddy, also penned an already debunked article also. I'll bring you a few of the debunkings soon but this gets so tiring. When can advocates go on the offensive already?


M1EK said...

About half of Wear's items are legitimate and half aren't. Asshats like Lyndon are defending ALL of them, of course, spamming various neighborhood lists in Austin. He also then followed up with a post extolling light rail in Charlotte, putting the lie to the theory that he hasn't been part of the "close your eyes; it's really light rail" campaign all along.

Lyndon makes it SO easy for Skaggs.

M1EK said...

Krusee didn't retire. He's announced he'll serve out the current term and then not run again, which means he will indeed still be on this CAMPO panel.

Sal Costello said...

Here's the update of the CAMPO "Sleazy Six":