April 10, 2008
I do not think it's an unreasonable expectation for our elected officials to actually understand the details of what is involved and ask for cost breakdowns on all of these "studies" they are spending millions of taxpayers dollars on.
Yet there goes another $647,000!
At least Beto O'Rourke gets some credit for his honesty in admitting that he has "no idea" why the study costs so much.
So why aren't you finding out before approving them? Am I the only one that finds something wrong with the outrageous costs of all of these studies?
I actually have what I feel is the perfect solution to end the traffic nightmare that has been Country Club Road for years, and in the interest of civic responsibility, I'll offer it free of charge. (Well, I can't take full credit for the idea, it was inspired by TxDOT.....)
You guessed it, make it a toll road! Build a toll booth at the state line and charge everyone using the road. Of course, El Paso residents could get a deep discount and an annual electronic pass. No study is needed to understand that this could easily reduce the traffic gridlock and help pay for future improvements.
New Mexico and the communities of Sunland Park and Santa Teresa have expanded for years without any consideration of the impact their expansion has on the infrastructure on the Texas side of the border. They have also made extreme efforts to lure El Paso businesses to their state through land giveaways and tax refunds. Not exactly 'Good Neighbor' behavior no matter how you slice it.
Rather than just continuing to be a willing host to these parasite communities and industrial parks that not only tax our infrastructure but proudly steal our tax revenues, why not make them pay for the access that they cannot do without?
Do the damn study! Get the roads fixed!! People in the Upper Valley are living in lala land thinking that the area isn't growing and that more access is needed through Country Club road. I also think the city council and planning commission is to blame for allowing more growth in many areas of the city without taking into consideration schools, streets and just overall crowding. But in the Country Club situacion its done now we need to move forward and improve the traffic flow. I hear some residents were complaining because the study has NM also involved, but hellloooo, people from El Paso are attending University of Phoenix and go through Country Club. People living on Upper Valley, or living in Tennis West area all go through that road. Get over it, its time to modernize the Valley will still be the valley only lets get the roads fixed -- Mike
In response to "DJ": If you go to the City website and back to the agenda item for the Upper Valley Traffic Study, click on the attachment scroll down to page 18 of 24. There is a breakdown of all tasks, manhours and the cost of each. That will give you insight into what has to be done and the hourly cost to complete this study. There is another exhibit which outlines the firm's hourly rates by classification and justifies those rates using a general and administrative overhead calculation. There are no secrets and the pricing is not out of line with the scope of work requested. All A&E firms are required by public agencies to provide this level of cost breakdown. They don't throw darts at a board and pick a fee. This study is not about just counting cars. -- Eileen
Is it just a coincidence that giving more access to Santa Teresa would benefit the largest landholder of Santa Teresa? I wonder who that landowner is? Could it be Bill Sanders of the Verde Group? Beto's father in law? Spend big bucks to help New Mexico. City council has requested money to buy the rope to hang the Upper Valley residents. Won't this lower the value of the houses built on Country Club? Less value, less taxes. Great City Council we have...... -- MR C
Great idea except for the fact it's a horrible idea.
Expect all the "save the valley" folks to comment this up. Their name should be more to their real goal "Keep the Mexicans Out of My Neighborhood."
God forbid a brown person earns some money and make nice home for his or her family.
Cut out the study and you'll have what you have all over El Paso - chaos. -- David K
Ms. Byrd stated that the Plaza de los Largatos was now being used as a park; however, if those obnoxious individuals who tend to preach all day continue to be allowed, it won't make any difference. How nice it would be to sit and read a book there. Still, a lot of the older bus riders are going to have difficulty walking that distance and many businesses will suffer from a lack of customers. -- JAS
Now why are the upper valley people ticked off. They put their people (Beto and Lilly)in office after all. You would think they would understand that this voting block and mayor with the city manager and the closed eyes of the City Atty. are working for a very narrow interest in El Paso. All this group wants from the regular small business person and regular citizen is to keep quite and pay your taxes,fees.fines, storm water management fees,and overpriced environmental services (trash,water and sewer) -- LisaT
Good questions and coverage. However, who proofs this before publishing? I know this is the web, but when it goes out, RSS readers will pick up any and all versions published--proofed or not. -- chacal
The "Progressives" on City Council approved $597,000 for a traffic STUDY in the upper valley, then acting as the Mass Transit Board, approved spending another $158,000 for more complete details in the proposed PLAN to move Sun Metro's downtown bus stops to the Union Plaza Trolley Terminal. That's $755,000 in one day, not for something concrete that the taxpayers can touch, but for a study and for a more complete plan. It's easy to spend when it's not your money.
Mr. Michael Churchman of the Lynx Exhibits was right that the move of the downtown bus stops to the Union Plaza Trolley Terminal was a "fait accompli" for some time before yesterday's meeting. It was obvious the "Progressive" council members' minds were made up in favor of the move, and nothing the public could say or present was going to change their minds.
They were presented with many, many good reasons why the downtown buses SHOULD NOT BE MOVED to the Union Plaza Transit Terminal.
Many locally owned businesses, whose profits remain in El Paso and who depend on the thousands of pedestrians who pass their storefronts on their way to or from the downtown bus stops, may well have to close down. There is great doubt that they can relocate to a storefront in Union Plaza, which is primarily residential.
The 650 residents of Union Plaza, many of them children, whose neighborhood had been peaceful and quiet, will have to deal with 27 bus routes involving hourly arrivals and departures of buses in their neighborhood and the influx of some 1,500 to 2,000 persons per hour congregated at the Union Plaza Terminal and surrounding streets.
Martha Maldonado, who spoke on behalf of the Sun Metro bus patrons, showed a petition containing 600 signatures of Sun Metro bus riders/patrons opposed to the move of the downtown bus stops to the Union Plaza Trolley Terminal. She also showed a previously collected petition containing 5,000 Sun Metro rider signatures protesting the conditions endured by riders. She pointed out numerous reasons why the move to Union Plaza would inconvenience Sun Metro patrons/riders. Not surprisingly, Representative Steve Ortega, in expounding on his reasons for supporting the move, expressed great faith in the reportedly favorable survey of some 400 Sun Metro bus riders taken by the consultants being paid by the City to provide the plan for the move. He did not acknowledge the opposing 600 signature petition presented by Sra. Maldonado.
All the red flags calling for more deliberate consideration of this move which were pointed out by the unanimous public speaker opponents were ignored by the "Progressive" majority on the Mass Transit Board: Beto O'Rourke, Susie Byrd, Steve Ortega, Ann Lilly, and John Cook.
When Melina Castro asked why this move of the Sun Metro bus stops away from San Jacinto Plaza was being carried out, Susie Byrd expressed the goal of recapturing the historic role of San Jacinto Plaza as an open space, a park in downtown. One must question her historical reference. When San Jacinto Square was only a park in El Paso's history was back before the automobile was invented. San Jacinto Plaza has served as a downtown bus stop for many decades, even when downtown was the only place in town to shop and THE place to wine and dine.
The proposed move must still pass another vote of the Mass Transit Board after the $158,000 fleshing out of the plan by the consultants.
Perhaps the Central Business Association can do its own study, possibly enlisting some UTEP brainpower, and present some hard facts on the negative economic and tax revenue impact of the move. -- Enrique Medrano
I can't believe Councilmen Holguin! He is a no voter to everything! He resigned from the board because there was too much democracy or in other words more people!! -- A. Carrillo
The only mention of the illegal burning of toxic waste is -- "including allegations of illegal incineration of hazardous wastes." There is no "allegation" anymore -- we have the proof from the Federal Dept. of Justice document and Rep. Reye's/GAO's report (and press comments) that let us know ASARCO deliberately burned toxic waste to make $$.
We want to know what we are poisoned with -- and Secretary Curry is dragging his heels as much or more than the TCEQ. -- Heather
No surprise as King Richardson flew our state owned jet into Santa Teresa, NM the day before for intermodel commitments. Does anyone on his staff responsible for pushing the EPA intended injunction realize the impact to Silver City's copper industry and areas economy as a whole. Likely not. To bad the King has nothing better to do while anticipating his next political advancement. -- S Brooks
I wonder if this consulting company actually took a look at how narrow the streets in that area are, and whether those streets were built to handle the weight of this increased traffic, I doubt it. This is going to be just another financial booddoggle undertaken by the city in general and Sun Metro in particular. Just a few years ago we spent millions to develop this area as the "Union Square Entertainment District" now its going to be a bus station. No wonder El Paso is so poor when we waste our scant financial assets on this sort of foolish project. It was the old mantra of Sun Metro that bus stations and parking garages equaled prosperity. That hasn't been true in other communities and it isn't true here either. Beto ORourke and Steve Ortega and the rest of the so called progressives on the city council need to actually travel to other cities to see how economic redevelopment is actually done. -- john Dynia
An international transit terminal would reflect the true interactive nature of our cohesive border community. -- Scott Comar
What this town needs is a Monorail!!! -- Lyle Lanley
Bus Rapid Transit is a band-aid approach to solving mass transit in El Paso. Start now with circulator electric streetcars serving downtown, then connect them to modern light rail. BRT (bus rapid transit) has not worked in other cities. But then, why am I surprised? El Paso historically does not benefit from knowledge available from successes and failures in other cities. Bus rapid transit, to do what it is supposed to do, relies upon a dedicated lane on the freeway. It is unlikely that TexDot is going to set aside a lane for BRT. If you construct an additional lane, then the cost is the same or more than a light rail, so why not go with the best system in the first place? What BRT usually ends up being is an express bus using a high occupancy lane at best - no significant gain in convenience or service to the public, but at a significant cost. -- Ron