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RECA official says group will not campaign against bonds

Thursday, September 9, 2010 by Michael Kanin

Over the last decade, the folks on the City Council have managed to pull together both business and environmental groups for solid support of bond packages. For this year’s transportation bonds, almost everyone jumped on board — from the Chamber of Commerce to the Sierra Club.


However, the board of the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) voted not to support the $90 million package, which offers bonds for some road projects but also sidewalks, bikeways, and trails, including the big ticket Lady Bird Lake boardwalk. RECA objected to putting the whole package into one proposition, saying the package “is evidence of a fundamental shift in the City’s definition of transportation priorities.” They said those priorities “are not in line with public opinion.”


So, it was of interest to City Hall observers to find out whether RECA would make an issue of the bonds, perhaps raising the ire of the mayor and Council, or if they would just sit this one out.


According to an email from RECA President Keith Donahoe, the group has decided not to actively oppose the bonds.


Donahoe writes:


“While RECA cannot support the package, the RECA leadership has concluded that it should not aggressively oppose it in recognition of the small size of the bond package and out of respect for the good intentions of City leadership that has elected to move ahead with this proposal. RECA also decided not to move forward with an opposition campaign because it is fiscally imprudent to proceed with aggressive opposition to the bond package based on principle alone.
”To be clear, RECA supports multi-modal transportation options, and we do not believe building new roads and repairing old ones are the only answers to congestion. In fact, we supported past transportation bond packages that included multi-modal projects. But those packages allocated many more dollars to projects that actually address congestion, while the current bond package prioritizes non-vehicular transportation modes with questionable benefits to reducing congestion.”


So, even though the airwaves will be filled with political ads from now until November, many of them making ugly accusations about elected officials, RECA will not be adding to the noise, apparently leaving the field open to those supporting the measure.

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