Friday, September 9, 2016

Adler's "Mobility" Bond: Opposition coalition meets informally

“For My people are foolish,
They have not known Me.
They are silly children,
And they have no understanding.
They are wise to do evil,
But to do good they have no knowledge.”
Jeremiah 4:22

Last night, several groups held an informal meeting to begin discussions about Mayor Adler's so-called "transportation" bond.  Gregory Harrison of Empower Texans, Roger Falk of the Travis County Taxpayers Union, and Rental Housing advocate John Goldstone made formal presentations while others chimed in.  We felt the following observations were notable:

[Author's Note: While we intend to follow up on a number of these subjects in the coming weeks, for now we suggest following up with the source cited at the end of the listing if you want to know specifics.]

  • This bond just isn't going to do much to address congestion. (GH)
  • Simple congestion solutions, such as improving the timing of traffic signals, don't require a massive bond package. (GH)
  • The bond should have been broken into it's component parts. (GH)
  • The real cost of the corridors alone is between $850 million and $1.5 billion.  (RF)
    • In other words, completing just the corridors would require at least one, and possibly two, more bond packages in '18 and '20.
  • The 'right of way' authority the city seizes as a result of this package is a threat to every single independent business along the corridors.  (RF)
    • "Driveway elimination and consolidation" will destroy their traffic and put them out of business.
    • In other words, there will be a lot of cheap land available for 'redevelopment' in five years.
    • ie. "Gentrification on Steroids."
  • City only wants to "do 30%" of the corridor plan on this round.  (RF)
  • This is going to create more congestion along the corridors by increasing the number of U-turns.  (RF)
  • "A perfect storm of gentrification" -- What happened on the east side is now going to happen north and west.  (RF)
  • Bonds equal taxes; taxes equal higher rents.  (JG)
  • Tenant's associations need to speak out.  (JG)
  • If the process is bad, you must vote no, and the process on this one stinks.  (JG)
  • Lots and lots of financial detail we couldn't follow.  (JG)
  • The city is lying about the property tax impact of this bond; using realistic assumptions about interest rates, the property tax increase is going to be at least 45% higher than what's being advertised.  (JG)
  • The Riverside corridor plan calls for replacing one of the lanes with parking; whatever your thoughts about the proper way to fix urban mobility, that doesn't make any sense under any of them.
  • They haven't announced it publicly, but an open records request yielded a memo from Marc Ott outlining a plan to cut the speed limits along the corridors in half.  (RF)
  • The city also wants to raise the "transportation user fee" on utility bills.  (RF)
  • "A pandora's box of unintended consequences."  (RF)
  • The pro-bike community is getting screwed; Alder's using them as political window dressing, but they actually get almost nothing (besides a little paint) from this package.
Bottom Line: The deeper you look, the more indefensible this thing becomes; more in the coming weeks....


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I would l to see you guys come up with solutions to traffic congestion, not paranoid talk of gentrification.


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