Last spring, the City of Austin unanimously approved an Independent Review of the Toll Authority's plan for Austin. As the City resolution states, phase 2 toll roads (tolls placed on public highways) have "generated controversy and division in our community", and "there is widespread desire for independent review of the information related to that plan". The review did not begin last spring, even though the resolution from March 3, 2005 promised the study would NOT be delayed,
"The city manager is directed to inquire if the RMA (toll authority) or other government entities would be willing to participate in the cost of the study, however the study is not to be delayed"
City of Austin Councilman Brewster McCracken has spent many months looking to "expand the study" by searching out more funds. Mind you, the city had the bare bones study fully funded with $150,000. But, Brewster said he wanted the study to include alternatives. Today the additional funds are lined up with the toll authority putting up to $125,000 or 35% of the funds for the review.
For months McCracken said ALL the meetings would be made open to the public, that a citizens committee would steer the neutral company hired to produce the study, and the community would have full opportunity to speak up in this very public independent review. Brewster said "Everything will be open and in the sunshine"
A draft of the interlocal agreement shows the truth. The process has been hijacked by the toll authority:
• City pays majority of the study but majorityGET THIS: The pro-toll committee can decide NOT to accept the study results!
of votes come from outside the city, and the
same people that voted to toll roads we've
already paid for!
• The Toll Authority (CTRMA) is the
• Process not open: Secret meetings are
allowed, public cannot speak at all meetings,
and review committee not subject to
open meetings act.
How can the toll authority do an "independent" review on themselves? Who are they kidding? McCracken's Independent Review could not be more of a sham, or less "independent". These greased weasels really must think we are stupid. They keep wasting more of our time and our tax dollars. It's like ENRON auditing themselves.