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CAMPO panel names Mike Manor to agency board

Tuesday, September 9, 2008 by Kimberly Reeves

CAMPO’s Transportation Policy Board, in a low-key meeting run by Vice Chair Cynthia Long, appointed Mike Manor to the Capital Metro board and talked about the one issue that has become a consistent theme of most meetings: money.

Manor will replace Lee Walker, who after serving as chair of the CAMPO Board for a decade, retired earlier this year. Manor will only join the board as a member. The board will elect a new chair from within its ranks at a future meeting

Only eight members of the CAMPO board – those who reside in CAMPO’s taxing district – could vote on the candidate. Manor, who works as a project manager for Travis County, was an intriguing choice because he is not an elected official with constituents. Instead, Manor is from East Austin, a man who considers his issues to be race relations and representing the interests of those in poverty.

The CAMPO subcommittee that interviewed candidates had a number of well-qualified candidates, including those with a transportation background. Manor, who has served on the Travis County MHMR board, is an administrator at Travis County in the program that provides rental and utility assistance. He has also served on numerous community boards, including Austin Area Interreligious Ministries.

“I want to put the people’s interests first, especially when it comes to public transportation,” Manor said. “That’s my passion, and I’m pretty outspoken about it.”

Others who had been in consideration for the post included John Trube, Norm Chafetz, and Paul Hamilton. Austin Council Member Mike Martinez and Leander Mayor Mike Cowman had both shown interest but dropped out of the race.

In other decisions at Monday night’s meeting, the CAMPO board:

  • Heard comments about anticipated cuts in funding from CAMPO Executive Director Joseph Cantalupo. Those discussions are still in progress. On the other hand, CAMPO staff also is in the process of deciding scenarios for prioritizing how it would spend Austin’s share of a possible $1.5 billion in bonds. A number of scenarios will be presented to the CAMPO board, Cantalupo said.
  • Cantalupo also raised the issue of moving forward with including Caldwell and Bastrop counties in the CAMPO service area. CAMPO has claimed those two counties for the purposes of funding – because the planning organization completes transportation planning for the two outlying counties – but new guidelines in funding likely will restrict the area to CAMPO’s actual three-county boundaries. That, and high growth in Houston, will cut CAMPO’s portion of the funding pie.
  • They also heard critic Roger Baker argue for the inclusion of greenhouse gases in CAMPO’s air quality models.  Cantalupo noted that CAMPO’s modeling is limited to those air quality issues related to traffic. Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt asked Cantalupo whether CAMPO could find a regional partner to address the greenhouse gas issue. Cantalupo promised to dig into the issue more.

And the group held a hearing on proposed amendments to the current three-year Transportation Improvement Plan. Fewer than a dozen people showed up at four meetings around the CAMPO region. Amendments to the plan included new trails in Hutto; changes in the scope of work for a project in Leander; a change in funding sources for a project in Round Rock; and tweaking of various programs being completed by CAMPO.

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