Response to Mayor Parker’s comments in the Houston Chronicle [http://www.chron.com/default/
In a Chronicle article about the Metro referendum, Mayor Parker makes several statements that are misleading. First, the article reports this:
“Mayor Annise Parker and the chairman she appointed to the Metro board, Gilbert Garcia, insist that passage of the proposition makes rail expansion more likely. One of the stated purposes of the referendum is to allow Metro to pay down debt, freeing up borrowing capacity that could be used on future rail lines. Referendum opponents are wrong when they say its passage will delay rail, Parker said Wednesday.”
A presentation by Metro during the run-up to the board’s decision on the referendum says no rail would be under construction until 2028 if the General Mobility Program continues. Board members have suggested that there are scenarios in which that could be 2025. Further, if the referendum fails, Metro will have six times as much money, enabling it to pay down debt much faster. The Mayor is the only one who insists that passage of the referendum will not delay rail.
The Mayor goes on to say:
“Either they believe that the magic tooth fairy in Washington will shower us with federal transit dollars in the midst of a still very difficult budget cycle, or we’re going to have to pay for that next line that we build ourselves,” she said. “If we want to pay for that line ourselves, once again, we’re not creditworthy unless we pay down our debt. So, how is this going to slow down rail?”
Most rail and transit advocates believe the days of Washington funding substantial transit programs are over, and that the only way we will build a bigger system is with local money and resources. So, yes, we believe in the second part of her first sentence.
Again, Metro can pay down the debt much faster if the referendum fails. So, logically, passing the referendum will slow down rail.
Vote AGAINST the Metro referendum if you want more and better transit service.