Transportation is Everyone's Business!
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
September 5, 2007

Those of us who serve on the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) are in the process of updating the Metropolitan Transportation Plan. It is our 25-year, long-range plan that provides the basic framework for all of the MPO's transportation planning in Bexar County.

Transportation is critical to our community's health in terms of clean air, use of limited and ever expensive energy resources, and to our competitiveness as a community especially given State and National fiscal constraints as well as the ever volatile world from which we obtain over half of our liquid fuels.

I'm excited about this process because it will provide our citizens the opportunity to look at our needs in terms of projected and possible growth scenarios and "connect the dots" so that we can evaluate how best to prioritize the limited dollars that we do have available to make for the greatest good.

I hope that this will not be the standard process of discussing all of our transportation needs, but that it will be diverse, dynamic and robust!

The visioning workshops will give us an opportunity to talk about "how" our community should grow so that we can then plan transportation projects that support the growth before it occurs.

One of the really exciting aspects of these workshops is that we will be discussing various modes of transportation.

This means pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation, and freight!

As one of my MPO duties I serve as the chair for the Pedestrian Mobility Advisory Committee. I assure you that a city that has consistently been rated as one of the most overweight in the country and a county with a 16 % incidence of diabetes, nearly triple the national rate, must provide more sidewalks and safe bike lanes. And, a county that has been given an "F" for dirty air along with Harris, Dallas and others by the American Lung Association must change its transportation system significantly!

Since this is about planning and vision too, I urge all to take into account that our country has a serious liquid fuel problem---our petroleum comes from places distant, uncertain and hostile. We are subject to a supply interruption in the blink of an eye. We must not and cannot allow these unstable sources to determine our transportation destiny!

As we speak, the price of a barrel of oil is at a record price in the upper 70 dollar range. Bloomberg says we may be a couple of months away from $100 per barrel oil. Others still say that a Katrina-like occurrence or an oil embargo could mean $200 per barrel, which could mean $5 to $6 per gallon gas!

And that's why we must plan right now to avoid transportation disruptions or any serious interference with our economy.

With your input, we will provide transportation choices and leadership of which we be proud.

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