From RichmondRail.org in the inbox:
Richmond rail supporters to hold counter-rally at 9:00 am Tuesday right outside Culberson press event
Culberson presumes to "announce his decision" Tuesday regarding rail on Richmond
Houston, TX Aug 1, 2006 Congressman John Culberson continues to conspire with opponents of public transit to kill rail on Richmond. He will be the "keynote speaker" at their anti-Richmond rally and press briefing at James Coney Island on Tuesday at 10:00 am.
Show up at 9:00 am and get the other side of the story!
Richmond Rail supporters will hold a counter demonstration right outside at 9:00 am Tuesday to show our disgust with the Congressman and our support for rail on Richmond.
What: Richmond rail supporters' counter-rally outside Culberson's press event
When: Tuesday August 1 from 9:00 to 10:00 am
Where: 3607 Shepherd Dr. at Richmond Avenue (77098) on the sidewalk in front of James Coney Island
It's time for John Culberson to answer some tough questions!
Why does John Culberson presume "to decide" the fate of the Universities line?!?
Why is John Culberson working with a handful of NIMBYs from just one or two neighborhoods? John Culberson took an oath to represent his entire district, and the Universities rail project will affect all Houstonians. But he's here today with a small group of anti-rail leaders from Afton Oaks. Why?
Why is John Culberson pandering to fear mongerers?
Richmond rail opponents continue to claim that rail will hurt traffic while METRO has now shown that NO traffic lanes will be lost and nearly every left turn will remain. Rail opponents have personally terrified small business owners on Richmond with false claims that METRO has now refuted, but Culberson is standing firm.
Why is John Culberson suddenly a new champion of displaced businesses?
John Culberson personally oversaw the condemnation of more than 480 properties to expand the Katy Freeway -- including Courtesy Chevrolet, Ciro's, 90% of Spring Valley's commercial tax base, and others -- all to "improve mobility." In contrast, METRO has now shown they can run rail down Richmond to bring urban transit to Greenway Plaza and the Galleria by taking only 8 properties, one of which is vacant and one an "adult" bookstore, but Culberson "won't let that happen." Why???
Why won't Culberson support urgently-needed urban transit for central Houston?
Two weeks ago, Culberson's House committee awarded $700 million to Dallas for another 45 miles of light rail, doubling the size of their system. But back in Houston, Culberson co-chaired Texans for True Mobility which fought the METRO referendum and he has failed to deliver the federal funds Houston is depending on.
UPDATE: The following is a press release from Jim Henley:
Jim Henley, Democratic candidate for U.S. Congressional District 7 strongly supports the development of light rail in Houston. Mayor Bill White, City Council, and METRO, recognizing the importance of transportation to the economic and environmental vitality of the city, have undertaken an open and inclusive evaluation process to determine appropriate locations for light rail lines. The current debate over the proposed locations of the University rail line is an important issue for our city and its continued growth and prosperity. Under Mayor White's leadership the process to choose the final route of the University line should continue as started, at a local level. The interference of Rep. John Culberson in this process is suspect given his long history of opposition to rail in Houston and the proximity of the November election.
CTC Press Release:
Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 01, 2006 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack
In a media advisory Monday, Congressman John Culberson says he will "announce his position on METRO's proposals to build light rail along Richmond Avenue" on Tuesday. Why? Federal law says the route alignment decision rests with METRO and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Houston's City Charter says routes will also be approved by City Council. These laws call for local control!
Back in March, Houston Mayor White told a crowd at St. Luke's that "we make our best decisions when we listen to each other," and "this won't be the end of the conversation." Houston City Council Members Anne Clutterbuck, Ada Edwards, and Pam Holm have held 9 METRO forums and dozens of small meetings that brought out thousands of Houstonians.
Houston's local elected leaders are clearly committed to engaging the public and building consensus on this important project that will shape Houston for decades to come. Even now, the Council Members are working directly with the City of Houston Planning Department to engage stakeholders in planning all five urban transit corridors.
But local authority isn't good enough for John Culberson. And given that METRO has not yet recommended the best alignment for the Universities line, you might conclude Culberson simply opposes the entire concept of expanding urban transit in Houston:
What: Rep. Culberson anti-Richmond rail press event
When: Tues Aug 1, 2006 at 10:00 am
Where: James Coney Island, Richmond store
3607 South Shepherd Dr., Houston, 77098
"Why does Culberson -- who lives in Arlington, Virginia -- keep coming back to meddle in local decision making?" asks Adra Hooks, a Castle Court resident. The federally-required planning process tasks METRO and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) with deciding the best route, and that process is scheduled to go until December. Culberson continues to politicize a process that should be based on informed public dialogue and fact-based analysis.
Many organizations have called on METRO to build for Houston's future by studying all of the options in an open and fair public process, and making the best technical decision possible. These include the Citizens' Transportation Coalition, the Greater Houston Partnership, the Intown Chamber of Commerce, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Museum District Business Alliance (MDBA), the West Houston Association, and others.
Houstonians deserve the best urban transit system we can build, that serves central Houston's businesses, universities, institutions, and neighborhoods. That means duly considering all possible choices of where to put rail. John Culberson has no right to prematurely select a route to suit his political needs.