NEWS FLASH - July 15, 2006

Rep. Joe Pickett


Six term Representative Joe Pickett (D-El Paso) is no newcomer to Texas transportation issues. He has served on the House Transportation Committee and is currently the Chairman of the Regional Transportation Policy Board in El Paso. The following letter has appeared in the Austin American-Statesman:

On June 29, a group of elected officials from the El Paso area appeared before the Texas Transportation Commission to oppose the creation of a Regional Mobility Authority. Our regional Metropolitan Planning Organization voted against creating a toll authority.

The Congress member in our area opposes creating a mobility authority, as does the county judge-elect. Do you think the Texas Department of Transportation honored the decision of the local planning organization? No way. It is the state's way or the highway, I mean tollway. It gets worse, 30 minutes after the vote was taken in El Paso against a mobility authority, a TxDOT commissioner called a road contractor and threatened to kill a pending project if they didn't get the mobility authority in line. Then TxDOT threatened the state of New Mexico by saying it would kill a joint railroad relocation study because some of our planning organization members who voted against the mobility authority are from New Mexico.

Chairman El Paso area
Metropolitan Planning Organization
El Paso

So much for local control. So much for the democratic process and citizen participation in government. Seems that Austin is now firmly in control of all Texans. And, in case you're interested, the Commissioner in question is Ted Houghton of El Paso.