8:15 a.m. KTSA Morning Edge Commentary 9/27/2002

VIA Taxers: They're Baaaaack

A couple of years ago the bus company decided it really wanted to be a train company. VIA drew up some sketches of proposed routes for light rail lines, and opened its loving arms to embrace the support of voters.

The voters showed up en masse but not to be supportive. The goofy light rail idea was trainwrecked. The vote was 70-percent NO.

Well, "They're baaaaack!"

I reckon there was something about NO that the bus company didn't understand. All your favorite local politicians have apparently had some big, warm-and-fuzzy group hug, and agreed to try again for a new tax for VIA.

The local delegation to the Texas Legislature is being given its marching orders: go up I-35 to Gomorrah-on-the-Colorado in January, and pass a new state law allowing a sales tax increase here.

You and I will be hand-fed some drivel about a new transportation tax being for street maintenance, and a little part of it would be. But behind the sheep's clothing, here's what the big, bad wolf is really after.

HOV lanes. Bus lanes. High-occupany toll lanes. And of course eventually they'll float the train idea again. Mayor Ed "Anybody seen my spine?" Garza wrote just the other day about how we still need light rail.

Right now I don't know who's gonna carry water for the local googoos' scheme, up in Austin. I'm suspecting it'll be handled the same as the sinister plot to put $50- or $60-million in the pockets of the PGA Village developers— that is, as quietly as possible.

Rest easy on one point, my friends. There can be no new VIA tax without YOU voting for it. You will be the last line of defense.

I'm Brad Messer with commentary at 8:15 on KTSA's Morning Edge.


Express-News 9/27/02 VIA, city to seek tax powers to improve transportation


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