Metro Board Nominee Wants New Transparency

A local transportation blogger and engineer says he's excited about the potential of bringing positive change to metro after his nomination to the transit agency's board by Mayor Annise Parker. Jack Williams reports.

Christof Spieler has long written about transportation issues in the blogosphere and will now likely have the opportunity so affect those issues as a member of Metro's board. City Council is expected to confirm Parker's nominations next month. Spieler says as an outsider now ready to take the unusual step to the inside, he'd like to see Metro repair its image.

"I think part of the new board member's role is rebuilding a credibility and a connection with the community that's been lost and I also think it's important to be a lot more transparent. I think Metro has been very secretive about things, even when there was no good reason to be secretive. It's not necessarily that they're hiding things. It's just that many times it seems the attitude has been to avoid talking to the public, to avoid sharing information with the public, and I think that's a really dangerous thing."

Spieler wouldn't comment on the future of Metro President Frank Wilson, but did say in his opinion, light rail expansion is headed in the right direction.

"The federal funding for North and Southeast lines looks like it's about to go through. At that point, full steam ahead on those lines. And East End is locally funded, really, the pieces are in place to do that. The two lines after that, University and Uptown, there's a federal funding process that hasn't been concluded. There's a lot of things still to figure out, but my feeling is there's a commitment to figure those things out, to move ahead with those lines, but I think it's important to be honest to the public that not all of that has been figured out."  

Mayor Parker has expressed her desire to install new leadership at Metro, including replacing President Wilson.

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Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...