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Metro's November 6, 2012 Ballot to Expand Bus Service and Reduce Debt

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This is why I quoted you. If you are not hinting that the suburbs are racist - what on earth are you hinting? Half the suburbs are full of minorities. Why would they not want themselves to drive around in their own neighborhoods? Why would they only fear two groups of people not like them being in their neighborhood if they were not harboring racist tendencies. That is definately what you are implying.

I was just pointing out that basically everybody is racist/bigoted. Every neighborhood wants everybody in it to be just like them and they start throwing up arguments/rules/defenses to keep the "others" out. Whether it is suburbs saying no to buses, the Heights throwing a hissy fit about Wal-Mart, ad nauseum.

By the way - what is an "average suburbanite" who doesn't like Obama supporters? Is it the black family living in Missouri City attending Windsor Village UMC on Sunday? Or maybe the black family in Pearland, or the hispanic family in Pasadena, or the hispanic family in Rosenberg? You seem to have a vision of the suburbs as a place of lily-white glowing faces that are all huddled in their living rooms around a KKK hood hiding from the roving brown invasion on public transportation. There might be some suburbs like that - but the reality is they are a big splattering of color. I think the real segregation comes is by income rather than by race. Things in the suburbs are definately segregated there - and that is by structural defination. But it also exists in the inner city.

You sound kind of defensive there. It's called white flight for a reason. They want avoid those who tend to be in poor areas, and in Houston that's blacks and Mexicans. I'm not going to sugar coat it. Of course there are other areas where this is prevalent too but the suburbs are one of these areas. But I do agree it's probably more economic and racial is an indirect side effect of that.

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Just my two cents... Metro wouldn't agree to something without plans already in place to build the University and Uptown lines. It would be ridiculous to assume otherwise, plus look at how fast the other three lines are being built. I have a feeling they are speeding up construction to gain support before the vote.

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You sound kind of defensive there. It's called white flight for a reason. They want avoid those who tend to be in poor areas, and in Houston that's blacks and Mexicans. I'm not going to sugar coat it. Of course there are other areas where this is prevalent too but the suburbs are one of these areas. But I do agree it's probably more economic and racial is an indirect side effect of that.

Not defensive at all. Just annoyed about the standard answer that suburbs don't want transit because of the color of the riders and fear of them.

What suburbs want in transit is reliability and frequency and ease of use. That probably won't happen except for things like the P&R routes because it is not cost-effective to send a multiple train/bus/rickshaw/whatever route to most suburbs. So if you only have a couple of buses/trains a day or you have to make 3 transfers to get anywhere - no one is going to ride because it is just easier and more reliable and better use of time to just drive.

Suburbs in Houston won't get anything for years till the density is there. And there won't be any ridership till the above needs are met. It's a catch-22 for which there is no good answer.

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Post #91

Oh alright. For a second there it looked like you quoted Metro and not Slick, nevermind.

Carry on.

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Just thought I'd bump this a bit.

Things went a bit off topic, but I hope people would continue to debate it properly again.

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I'll be voting "no" (absentee ballot) because I want GM payments eliminated. But even in the unlikely event that a "no" vote passes, GM payments will most likely continue anyway. Really it's a pointless vote, and I hate that.

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Been working the polling place in Cypress (Cypress Top Park) this week. Only two people of the hundreds I have talked to have flat out said they were voting yes because they were afraid we (in uninc. Harris Co.) would be losing out in millions on local projects. I think the majority of people who have even just a little bit of good information on this (regardless if they are from in the loop or the suburbs) know the GMP are not the best way for our transit dollars to be spent. I'm sure the vote will be close, but I'm optimistic that common sense prevails in the end.

In response to mfastx - True. I'm sure Metro will continue the GMP on some scale. To me one of the big differences will be that light rail expansion will not be effectively shut down until 2025.

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I am going to vote "no", unless there is a compelling reason why metro should share funds with every municipality in the area.

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I am going to vote "no", unless there is a compelling reason why metro should share funds with every municipality in the area.

Agreed. The Metro sales tax is applied in the Metro service area. It should be used for that alone. If other cities or counties want taxes to fix their road issues, they should levy a tax or cut spending somewhere else.

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I am going to vote "no", unless there is a compelling reason why metro should share funds with every municipality in the area.

Corruption is the only reason

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I'm still waiting on someone, someone to provide me with an example of a successful transit system giving a quarter of its funds to roads. I just can't imagine siphoning away money from transit going to roads as being a good solution. It defeats the purpose.

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I'm still waiting on someone, someone to provide me with an example of a successful transit system giving a quarter of its funds to roads. I just can't imagine siphoning away money from transit going to roads as being a good solution. It defeats the purpose.

Since the source and quantity of transit funding varies so greatly between jurisdictions and is frequently supplemented by outside entities, do you really think that someone that bothered to fulfill your obscure request would lead to some kind of a relevant conclusion?

Or is this all just a continuation of vapid, whiny rhetoric?

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Since the source and quantity of transit funding varies so greatly between jurisdictions and is frequently supplemented by outside entities, do you really think that someone that bothered to fulfill your obscure request would lead to some kind of a relevant conclusion?

Or is this all just a continuation of vapid, whiny rhetoric?

I'm trying to get people to realize that we will never have a better transit system (bus or rail) if we continue to take money away from it and put it to roads.

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I'm trying to get people to realize that we will never have a better transit system (bus or rail) if we continue to take money away from it and put it to roads.

No, that isn't necessarily true. Sales tax revenue is increasing at a rate well above the rate of inflation. Therefore the inflation-adjusted amount retained for transit will continue to grow as well, allowing for an incrementally better transit system over time.

What you want is simply more revenue dedicated to mass transit. And you want it now. Why don't you just say that?

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No, that isn't necessarily true. Sales tax revenue is increasing at a rate well above the rate of inflation. Therefore the inflation-adjusted amount retained for transit will continue to grow as well, allowing for an incrementally better transit system over time.

What you want is simply more revenue dedicated to mass transit. And you want it now. Why don't you just say that?

I've been saying that.

Both you and I know that any serious improvements in Houston's transit system won't happen unless funding significantly increases. To suggest anything otherwise is disengenous.

I know you don't care about transit. But don't act like our transit system doesn't need more funding.

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I've been saying that.

Both you and I know that any serious improvements in Houston's transit system won't happen unless funding significantly increases. To suggest anything otherwise is disengenous.

No, you've made poorly-qualified and alarmist forecasts, and also pretending that a particular change (eliminating GM payments) is the sole method to skin a cat when in fact there are many. That is disingenuous. Never mind that if the cat were skinned, there's no guarantee that they'll do with the carcass what you want done with it. Money is only step one of a solution. After that takes leadership, planning, and execution. You may be disappointed.

I know you don't care about transit. But don't act like our transit system doesn't need more funding.

Putting aside your strawman fallacy...if I honestly didn't care about transit (which I do), then I wouldn't need to act like transit didn't need funding. I could state it honestly and without hesitation (which I'm not).

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No, you've made poorly-qualified and alarmist forecasts, and also pretending that a particular change (eliminating GM payments) is the sole method to skin a cat when in fact there are many. That is disingenuous. Never mind that if the cat were skinned, there's no guarantee that they'll do with the carcass what you want done with it. Money is only step one of a solution. After that takes leadership, planning, and execution. You may be disappointed.

You're over analyzing. For some reason I get to you and I'm not sure why. I'm pro transit that's all. I know that funding is just one step but it's a huge step, and without funding, what else can happen to seriously improve transit?

I realize that I may be dissapointed. I'm very worried about post-referendum. I am somewhat confident that an "against" GM payments vote will pass. But I am very worried that the board will disregard the public vote and continue them anyway. I am worried that METRO won't use the extra money to buy new buses, start the Univeristy/Uptown lines, and in general complete the METRO solutions plan. But I'm willing to take that risk because in the event of a "for" vote, nothing will change over the next decade. $400 million more over 11 years? That's nothing. No real improvements will be made and it's a step back in the wrong direction.

Putting aside your strawman fallacy...if I honestly didn't care about transit (which I do), then I wouldn't need to act like transit didn't need funding. I could state it honestly and without hesitation (which I'm not).

Every time I advocate for more funding for METRO, you always reply with some condescending comment about how we can't afford it, etc. It doesn't seem to me that you care about funding a quality transit system. That's just how you come accross over the HAIF board. I don't know what you really want, but it sure seems like you're against meaningful transit improvements, especially when they involve rail (even though most can agree it's an important part of having a better transit system in Houston).

Anyway I have a question for you: throughout the last few years, you've complained about METRO's mishaps during construction. However you seem to have none of those concerns about METRO ripping up Uptown for years. Wouldn't there be similar METRO goofs during the construction of this deticated lane bus system? Simply because it is bus construction as opposed to rail construction doesn't mean that there won't be the same sorts of those classic METRO problems during construction, right? I don't get it.

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But I am very worried that the board will disregard the public vote and continue them anyway.

They have stated that GMP probably will continue in some form, but a No vote definitely gives them more leeway to decide just how much or little to give away. I'd rather they just go ahead and end the GMP and dare those opponents to go cry to the state about ending Metro. Let's have that fight and see who comes out on top.

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They have stated that GMP probably will continue in some form, but a No vote definitely gives them more leeway to decide just how much or little to give away. I'd rather they just go ahead and end the GMP and dare those opponents to go cry to the state about ending Metro. Let's have that fight and see who comes out on top.

some METRO board members and other heavy hitters (Ballanfant - former mayor of West U, Chmn Garcia, Mayor Parker) are on the record as asking for a "yes" vote. why do you think that is?

http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/A-vote-for-Metro-referendum-will-mean-continued-3923750.php

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some METRO board members and other heavy hitters (Ballanfant - former mayor of West U, Chmn Garcia, Mayor Parker) are on the record as asking for a "yes" vote. why do you think that is?

http://www.chron.com...ued-3923750.php

I don't know why, and I remain puzzled why these Board members don't make the case for not voting Against. It is better in every way for Metro, so why wouldn't Metro support an Against vote?

Even Metro's ads describe what the two votes do without recommending one or the other. I would even say that they hint at leaning toward an Against vote.

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You're over analyzing. For some reason I get to you and I'm not sure why. I'm pro transit that's all.

Yes, I am frustrated with you. The purpose of language is to tie together concepts that are mutually understood within a consistent framework of logic and reason. Your concepts are poorly defined and presumptuous; your logic is weak, rife with fallacies. I explain how and why that is with precision, over and over, but you do not learn.

For instance, you say that you are pro-transit and that that is all, as though that should mean something particular and discrete. The issue is more complicated than that, however. I am pro-transit. So why are we bickering, then? What, can't you remember?

Every time I advocate for more funding for METRO, you always reply with some condescending comment about how we can't afford it, etc. It doesn't seem to me that you care about funding a quality transit system. That's just how you come accross over the HAIF board. I don't know what you really want, but it sure seems like you're against meaningful transit improvements, especially when they involve rail (even though most can agree it's an important part of having a better transit system in Houston).

You and I are not on the same page as to what constitutes a "quality transit system". To me, it is an intermodal optimization function that goes beyond transit and broadens the scope of the question to address systematic regional mobility. You favor discrete improvements along pre-selected corridors. I advocate sound governance and effective and transparent strategic planning processes, and I will support whichever portfolio of improvements scores the highest benefit-cost ratio, wherever those improvements may be along the system, and I do not pretend to know which ones they'll be.

So, the reason that you don't know precisely what kind of a system I want is because neither do I.

Anyway I have a question for you: throughout the last few years, you've complained about METRO's mishaps during construction. However you seem to have none of those concerns about METRO ripping up Uptown for years. Wouldn't there be similar METRO goofs during the construction of this deticated lane bus system? Simply because it is bus construction as opposed to rail construction doesn't mean that there won't be the same sorts of those classic METRO problems during construction, right? I don't get it.

I mentioned before that I really, really like it that the Uptown Management District has taken the lead in developing the proposal and is funding so much of the project. Their organization is comprised and led by neighborhood stakeholders (including major taxpayers). That largely negates one of METRO's fatal flaws, which is that METRO is led by appointees of appointees of various mayors, basically unaccountable and unresponsive to stakeholders.

Moreover, I can understand Uptown's motivations. Go read the Downtown Management District's mobility study. It shows us that one of the things that METRO does very well is that they provide good P&R service to downtown Houston. Since Uptown is laid out in a less efficient manner than is downtown, and since METRO's P&R generally bypasses Uptown, they're looking for ways to enhance their connectivity and reap the reward. It may be that this is just an interim project, something to hold them over for a couple decades until the economics of light rail improve to a point where it can be installed along with the appropriate number of grade separations.

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Please elaborate. Who is corrupt? What is the nature of the alleged corruption?

Certain people that strong armed the mayor and Garcia. Don't be naive

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Certain people that strong armed the mayor and Garcia. Don't be naive

Please elaborate. Who is corrupting them? What is the nature of the alleged corruption?

Be clear or begone, troll.

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Please elaborate. Who is corrupting them? What is the nature of the alleged corruption?

Be clear or begone, troll.

Your tactics of intimidation won't work on me.

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I don't know why, and I remain puzzled why these Board members don't make the case for not voting Against. It is better in every way for Metro, so why wouldn't Metro support an Against vote?

Even Metro's ads describe what the two votes do without recommending one or the other. I would even say that they hint at leaning toward an Against vote.

I would say: 1) you are either clueless or choose not to acknowledge the obvious political concerns of proponents of METRO the agency (as opposed to proponents of specific METRO plans for spending the tax $$$) should a "NO" vote prevail, or 2) you simply post this kind of comment b/c of your unconditional faith in light rail as essential to the solution to Houston's transit needs.

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If they're concerned about political consequences, they should explain it.

they have been explaining since the day of the final compromise language - about 3 months ago. apparently you haven't been interested enough in the issue to pay attention.

The compromise language reads as it does b/c the County was threatening to go to the state legislature and have METRO's charter amended, and every single one of the service area cities except C of Houston that have a METRO board member threatened to pull out of METRO.

After the compromise was reached, the County and member cities have continued to make the eact same threats should a "NO" vote prevail.

proponents of a "NO" vote, like CTC and Houston Tomorrow, have gotten increasingly shrill in warning that a "YES" vote means no more rail expansion ever. that outcome is doubtful, but the threatened consequences of a "NO" victory are not.

Edited by IHB2

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they have been explaining since the day of the final compromise language - about 3 months ago. apparently you haven't been interested enough in the issue to pay attention.

Nope. They talk about the supposed benefits of Agree, never the disadvantages of Disagree.

The compromise language reads as it does b/c the County was threatening to go to the state legislature and have METRO's charter amended, and every single one of the service area cities except C of Houston that have a METRO board member threatened to pull out of METRO.

That is the reporting from the media, but no member of the Metro board is publicly making that case.

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Nope. They talk about the supposed benefits of Agree, never the disadvantages of Disagree.

That is the reporting from the media, but no member of the Metro board is publicly making that case.

Harris County Commissioner Radack explains the county's position in this Oct 4 MP3 interview - he makes the points beginning at minute 3 and continuing through minute 15:

http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=48050

Quotes from Mayor Parker and METRO Board Chmn Garcia from Nov 2 with specific mention of "NO"vote potential consequences:

http://www.chron.com/default/article/Future-of-rail-riding-on-the-Metro-referendum-4004808.php

can't access Ballanfant's article in the Village/SW News sometime last month in favor of YES vote, but he's on the record in that article supporting Garcia's position.

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We can speculate on potential consequences of AGAINST prevailing until the cows come home, but it's absolutely certain that METRO will have over $2 billion more to spend on transit.

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I read voting YES means that light rail funds basically disappear and everything that isn't under construction will be cancelled. Truth to that?

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I read voting YES means that light rail funds basically disappear and everything that isn't under construction will be cancelled. Truth to that?

Basically

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My understanding is that the *new* money coming from the sales tax increment (i.e. they say Metro will go from keeping 75% of the penny to 81% of the penny, so that extra 6%) are the only funds restricted to buses and debt reduction. The original 75% is unrestricted, and can certainly still be spent or rail (as it will need to be to finish the 3 lines under construction). Can somebody confirm this?

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That's correct. The increment is projected to be $400 million over 10 years, $200m or which will be used to pay off commercial paper. But with payments to be made on the recently-issued light rail bonds it doesn't look like METRO will have the capacity to issue any more for big capital projects.

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Is it possible for a private company to build rail in Houston because the shortsightedness that has plagued this city has reached the terrifying level. The imbalance in infrastructure investment in a city of this size and population growth, coupled with the thought of gas prices in 10 years is not only irresponsible it is terrifying.

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Is it possible for a private company to build rail in Houston because the shortsightedness that has plagued this city has reached the terrifying level. The imbalance in infrastructure investment in a city of this size and population growth, coupled with the thought of gas prices in 10 years is not only irresponsible it is terrifying.

Completely agree. Houston is going backwards, as other metro areas in this country expand rail, not take funding away from it. It was a good plan too, just faced so much opposition. It really is too bad heavy rail wasn't approved back in the 80s.

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