http://ctxmobilitymatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/top-banner.jpg

Austin American-Statesman Commentary: CTRMA Remains Open to the Public

http://ctxmobilitymatters.com/wp-admin/themes.phpToday, Mobility Authority Chairman Ray A. Wilkerson, with my full support and that of our Board and staff, reiterated our agency’s commitment to being a trusted partner in planning for and improving our region’s transportation infrastructure. Through his editorial response in the Austin American-Statesman, “CTRMA remains open to the public,” the chairman addressed the recent inquiries regarding our organization’s ethics and adherence to the Texas Open Meetings Act. I hope you will take a moment to read about our agency’s commitment to transparency and a healthy public dialogue.

As always, if you are ever interested in learning more about the Mobility Authority or our projects, you can view materials, meeting schedules, proposals and information on our website, www.MobilityAuthority.com.

AAS

OPINION
February 12, 2016
BY RAY WILKERSON- SPECIAL TO THE AMERICAN-STATESMAN 

As an agency established to help address mobility needs, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) stands ready to accept any and all feedback on those efforts. We believe our duties include being responsible for informing the public as to how the CTRMA conducts its business. Part of that responsibility requires strict adherence to all applicable regulations regarding open meetings. As someone who has deep experience with such laws, I can assure you that I would never permit any board activity that would compromise that principle of government accountability.

Ray Wilkerson, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Board Chairman

Ray Wilkerson, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Board Chairman

The CTRMA operates in accordance with the Texas Transportation Code and the Texas Open Meetings Act, which mandate that meetings of governmental bodies must be open to the public except for expressly authorized executive sessions. The act also provides that the public must be given notice of the time, place and subject matter of meetings of governmental bodies. The CTRMA has policies and practices in place that ensure staff and board members follow these requirements. Each of us understands the importance of the Open Meetings Act and takes the public nature of these regulations seriously. Additionally, recognizing the need for enhanced public outreach, video archives, written materials, and audio recordings of board meetings are always available at our website mobilityauthority.com, along with a wealth of project information.

Also, we work hard to provide regional media with the information needed to communicate facts and active project information to their audience. We appreciate that most of the stories convey the facts in a fair way. This is precisely why the CTRMA takes the recent allegations so seriously – as do I, personally.

We are also proud of the fact that this publication, which takes seriously its communication of transportation news to its audience, has never in 13 years found it necessary to file an open records request of this agency. Public agencies must fully study the projects they are developing; staff work is of course an important responsibility of these bodies. That work can be composed of an individual researching legal issues or a group of professionals mapping out complex alternatives that need to be reviewed and addressed by governing boards. Our agency and its many transportation partners throughout the region brings forward comprehensive project analyses as they are developed for presentation and consideration by the board in open, public session. Any cursory review of our monthly agendas, which we would encourage, would clearly show the care we take to keep the public informed.

The elected officials who appoint our board members and the public have full and electronic access to the meetings we hold and the information under consideration well in advance of the meeting. In seven and a half years as chairman, neither I nor the executive director have dodged even the hardest questions regarding our program either to the press or public officials. We employ an open door policy when it comes to media or public inquiries and take pride in our efforts to respond honestly and in a timely manner. The executive director and I take this responsibility seriously, whether public comments support or oppose our activities. We will remain fully available to the county attorney and public officials with regard to any next steps they deem worthy. We are confident any findings will reveal what we already know: The CTRMA is one of the best-run agencies in the state and has exceeded the requirements of the law in providing information to the public.

Make no mistake, this latest conversation is part of an ongoing debate at the heart and soul of the Austin area: how our residents are going to survive their everyday travel and commutes, and how that travel — whether by car, bus, bicycle or on foot — impacts their ability to afford to live, work and enjoy this community. Many critics contend that we don’t need to build new roadways to address our ever-increasing congestion and would stop at nothing to halt our recent progress. New roadways aren’t the only answer, but they are part of the answer.

Neighbors, this isn’t the 1980s anymore. The “if we don’t build it, they won’t come” option was tried and it failed miserably. Let’s focus on what can work across all alternatives and commit ourselves to an intelligent, informed conversation about possible solutions. I’m proud of the work the CTRMA has done to address our growing and critical needs and the manner in which we’ve conducted our business to make important progress. We’re hopeful that this attention will result in enlightened dialogue that moves our region forward. For more information, attend our meetings or go to our website, mobilityauthority.com, to watch our monthly meetings online. It’s there for your information.

For the full article, click here.

Ray A. Wilkerson is Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Board Chairman

2 years ago by in News & Events | You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave A Response

* Required