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Daugherty blocked from requesting county opposition to Prop A

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 by Ryan Thornton

A legal issue got in the way of an attempt by Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty to take an official stance against Project Connect and Proposition A on Tuesday afternoon. Daugherty, an adamant opponent of public transit spending, sought to gather opposition from the Commissioners Court on the grounds that Project Connect “could have a deleterious effect on Travis County’s future property tax revenue.” However, after going into an executive session with County Attorney David Escamilla to discuss the matter, Daugherty withdrew and postponed the item due to unspecified legal questions. In anticipation of the discussion, 17 community leaders and transit advocates had prepared to speak before the court in defense of Project Connect. Among the listed speakers were former county judge and current state Sen. Sarah Eckhardt, state Rep. Gina Hinojosa, Mayor Steve Adler, Council members Greg Casar, Natasha Harper-Madison and Ann Kitchen, and Huston-Tillotson University President Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette. Leading up to the meeting, representatives of several local transit advocacy organizations wrote to the commissioners, urging them to support Prop A. Dave Dobbs, executive director of the Texas Association for Public Transportation, sent an email arguing that, among other things, Project Connect would help concentrate new regional growth within the city of Austin, thus reducing the future burden of regional traffic congestion in Travis County. According to a press release from Daugherty’s office, a group of Project Connect opponents were also prepared to speak against Prop A. Among them were David Kruger of Kruger’s Jewelers, Rob Lippincott of Güero’s Taco Bar and Jack Gilmore of Jack Allen’s Kitchen (of which Daugherty is a partner in ownership). With the item postponed for now, the Transit Now campaign said Project Connect advocates “remain prepared to discuss the generational benefits that voting FOR Prop A will bring to Austin.”

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