The Metropolitan Transit Authority is preparing for a referendum, likely to be on the November ballot, asking voters to decide whether to put millions more of their sales tax dollars toward transit or continue diverting part of it for road projects in their cities and Harris County....and that's where Houston Metro would like to stop the argument, without providing voters much detail as to how they choose to define "transit".
It's light rail of course, with little or no service going to the periphiary cities in the Houston region, but taxes continuing to be collected at static rates while bus service decreases. If Metro is allowed to frame the issue in that light, and you can bet that Christoph Spieler, George "It's not child porn" Grenias, David Crossley, ChronBlog and the InterLeft will coordinate to ensure they do, then there's a very good chance this referendum is going to pass.
As with many Metro elections, it's all going to come down to the credibility and organization of the opposition.
Can they make the case that getting rid of the 1/4% diversion will LESSEN transportation for all but a few regional citizens residing within the Inner Loop? Can they recieve enough funding and support to get their message out? Most importantly, can they supporess the "UN Agenda 21" nonsense that seems to flow unchecked from their foot-soldiers?
These will be the questions in the upcoming election. Ironically, Grenias & Co. admit that the issue at hand is the issue they fear the most:
Cindy Siegel, the former mayor of Bellaire and an appointee of the 14 small cities in Metro's service area, agreed. She and Metro CEO George Greanias worried the discussion would drift into the shorthand of highways versus rail linesMetro doesn't want that argument, because it's a loser. Metro wants to keep offering a pie-in-the-sky regional transportation system that's not on the drawing board. That's the argument the opposition should be making.
But, will they?