Light Rail Now and Walkable Neighborhoods (LRN) can be contacted at:
Light Rail Now!
Austin: Anti-Rail ROAD Warriors Flip-Flop
The following report has been adapted from a News Release dated 17 July 2000 and issued by Get Around Austin, Inc., a coalition of Austin's technology leaders and executives who support the proposed Austin light rail initiative as part of Austin Mayor Kirk Watson's regional transportation plan. Members believe light rail is an integral part of an extensive multi-modal transportation system, including upgraded roads, rail, airports, bikeways, and sidewalks. The A-train e-campaign is located at www.austinatrain.org. For further information, contact:
The Road to Contradiction: Anti-Light Rail Group Denounces its Own Plans
The anti-rail organization ROAD (Reclaim Our Allocated Dollars) has begun to contradict its own proposals for confronting Austin's emerging transportation crisis. ROAD's leadership, Gerald Daugherty and Jim Skaggs, had been pushing a plan to build a elevated highway loop around Austin and a new "east-west freeway". But at the Hill Country Republican Women's meeting on Thursday, 13 July 2000, Skaggs denied that his group's ideas had ever been centered around the "loop" or an eastwest thoroughfare, and he now claims to want only better highway interchanges.
Skaggs's claims contradict his June 1st public presentation to the Austin Chamber of Commerce's blue ribbon committee. The publicly available transcript of his speech to the chamber records Skaggs as urging city leadership to build an elevated loop and an east-west freeway.
"We advocate, as I said, taking that half penny [of the existing Capital Metro sales tax], allocating it to road projects to bring this city to a state of adequacy for its size and population and number of vehicles. Such things as on this list, SH 130, 45, an east-west expressway, a completed loop around Austin" he told committee members. "What city do you know our size that doesn't have a completed loop around it? And to have some vision for right-of-way for the future. San Antonio 40 years ago had the vision to buy the right-of-way for their outer loop. They now have two loops."
ROAD members have made a number of other misleading comments during the public debate over light rail for Austin. The group has denounced CapMetro's federal reporting statistics on ridership as being inaccurate and repudiated factual information on light rail's positive impacts on air pollution, congestion, and land development. The ROAD group has also implied CapMetro's ridership statistics are not accurate.
"We welcome groups on all sides of the light-rail debate to participate in the dialogue" said Ross Garber, founder of pro-light rail group, Get Around Austin, Inc. "But ROAD's consistent negativism and flip-flopping does nothing but diminish the quality of the debate surrounding what is the most important decision facing Austin in the next ten years, and it hurts every Austinite in the process."