Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) is the federally required Metropolitan Planning Organization responsible for the continuous and comprehensive transportation planning process in the Austin, Texas area, including Williamson, Travis and Hays counties. CAMPO is one of 25 Texas MPOs.

Governance

CAMPO is governed by its CAMPO Transportation Policy Board (the CAMPO board) composed of state, regional and local officials.

The CAMPO board has 19 voting members, consisting mostly of elected politicians. The board Chairman is currently state Sen. Kirk Watson. One board member is a state senator, two are state representatives, five are mayors, five are county judges or commissioners, two are Austin city council members, and one is a Sunset Valley city council member. The 2001 CAMPO Peer Review study described having over one-third of the board being state legislatures as "fairly unusual". The two non-elected officials represent the Capital Metro transportation authority and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Austin district.

The board typically meets the second Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. Meetings are typically held on the University of Texas campus in the [http://www.utexas.edu/maps/main/buildings/tcc.html Joe C. Thompson Conference Center] auditorium.

taff

CAMPO has a staff of 16 including Joe Cantalupo the Executive Director.

The CAMPO staff office is at One Texas Center Building at 505 Barton Springs Road, Suite 700, in Austin, Texas.

Funding

CAMPO receives all its funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation and TxDOT.

Controversy

The CAMPO 2030 Plan adoption of the CAMPO-designated "Phase 2" toll conversions of Austin-area freeways (US 183, SH 71, US 290 East and West, Loop 1, and Loop 360) generated substantial public controversy in July 2004 and afterward. Public feedback received by CAMPO at the time ran 90% against the Plan 2 toll conversions, but the final board vote was 16-7 in favor of the toll conversions. The Austin American-Statesman, the regional newspaper, endorsed the toll plan. The anti-toll group Austin Toll Party formed in response to the July 2004 vote. The Austin Toll Party, led by Sal Costello, was vocal in their charges that the July 2004 vote for toll conversions of existing freeways amounted to "double taxation". Their efforts included sponsoring a recall election petition against the Austin mayor Will Wynn and other Austin city council members who voted for the toll conversions, but the petition drive ultimately failed to collect enough signatures.

Subsequent efforts by the Austin Toll Party played a role in unseating the Dwight Thompson, the mayor of West Lake Hills, and Karen Sonleitner, a Travis County commissioner, who both voted for the Phase 2 toll conversions.

In the aftermath of the vote, various allegations of conflicts-of-interest were made against CAMPO board members. In September 2004, the Austin American-Statesman editorial page wrote that State Representative Dawna Dukes "should have abstained on the controversial plan to toll seven Central Texas roads" after the paper reported Rep. Dukes' sister signed a consulting contract with the general engineering contractor for the region's toll authority days before the CAMPO vote. In March 2005, Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn issued a report titled " [http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/ctrma05 Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority: A Need for a Higher Standard] " alleged conflicts-of-interest for board members of the toll authority (the CTRMA) charged with building and eventually running the Phase 2 toll roads. The CTRMA subsequently issued a [http://www.ctrma.org/documents/Comptrollers_Report_Response.pdf response] contesting the Comptroller's report. In June 2006 Johanna Zmud, one of the CTRMA board members who the Comptroller called to resign in the report, subsequently announced plans that she would resign in order to pursue consulting opportunities.

One project in the Phase 2 toll plan was to open the nearly-complete extension of Loop 1 South as a toll road. For an estimated $11 million construction cost to set up toll booths on the otherwise near-finished roadway, bonding the future toll revenue from the bridge over William Cannon Drive would immediately generate $27 million. This plan provoked a massive public outcry; planning and building a freeway but then opening it as a toll road was simply too much for the public to accept.

Even though 16 CAMPO board members had voted for the Phase 2 toll roads with Loop 1 South slated for quick toll conversion just six months earlier, in January 2005 the CAMPO board voted unanimously to remove the already-constructed Loop 1 extension and bridge over William Cannon Drive from the toll conversion package. The Loop 1 South extension has since opened without tolls.

Austin City Council Member and CAMPO board member Brewster McCracken, under pressure from the anti-toll recall effort, began advocating an independent study to assess the Phase 2 toll plan. On March 3, 2005, the Austin City Council approved funding for "an independent review of the TxDOT/CTRMA Toll Plan". Other area municipalities joined the study and pooled over $300,000 to pay for the study. Brewster McCracken invited pro-tolling Rep. Mike Krusee and fellow CAMPO board member to co-chair the steering committee for the study. The study was named the Mobility Alternative Finance Study (MAFS). Due to the delays in organizing the study and concerns stemming from McCracken's inviting an ardent pro-toll voice to co-chair the study's steering committee, Sal Costello alleged the study had become co-opted by pro-tolling advocates. The Boston-based [http://www.crai.com/ CRA International] consulting firm conducted the study. Despite plans for a citizens advisory board to provide input to the study, no such board was ever formed. CRA presented its final report to the MAFS Steering Committee and CAMPO in December 2006.

Subsequent CAMPO board meetings after the July 2004 vote were subject to substantial public protest. In response, the CAMPO board instituted new rules that substantially curtailed public comment by requiring persons wishing to address the board to register prior to the meeting and limiting the number of such speakers.

History

CAMPO was established in 1973 when it went under the name ATS (Austin Transportation Study).

On June 12, 2000, CAMPO adopts plans for US 183-A Toll Road.

In January 2001, Cambridge Systematics issues its "CAMPO Peer Review of Capital Area Transportation Planning" final report to critique CAMPO's decision making process and offer recommendations. The report noted "polarized debate on transportation projects for many years" and "a history of factionalism between urban and suburban interests". One key recommendation was to form a Technical Advisory Committee.

On February 10, 2003 CAMPO's Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) voted to expand our current planning boundary to cover all of Williamson, Travis, and Hays Counties in Central Texas.

On February 19, 2003 Governor Rick Perry approved CAMPO's boundary expansion to include all of Williamson, Travis, and Hays Counties. Bastrop and Caldwell Counties, while a part of the Austin-San Marcos Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), are not included in the CAMPO planning area.

On March 10, 2003, the Transportation Policy Board appointed a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to be made up of representatives of local agencies or jurisdictions within the CAMPO boundary. The board charged the TAC to "Make recommendations to the TPB on the CAMPO Long-Range Plan and the Transportation Improvement Program, as well as other related technical issues."

On April 12, 2004, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) and TxDOT presented the CTRMA's proposed regional implementation program to CAMPO. This identified the greater Austin area's immediate mobility needs and proposed toll-road projects for CTRMA to operate or develop.

On July 12, 2004 at a highly contentious board meeting observed by an overflowing public audience, CAMPO voted to include all of the toll-road projects CTRMA and TxDOT had proposed. Much of the discussion at this meeting focused on approving eight amendments to the toll conversion plan. Loop 360 was designated as a tollway in the CAMPO 2030 plan but left unfunded in the approved Transportation Improvement Program (TIP),

On January 25, 2005, the CAMPO board votes unanimously to remove the Mopac bridge over William Cannon from the toll road plan.

On June 6, 2005, the CAMPO board adopted the [http://www.campotexas.org/pdfs/AdoptedMobility2030Plan.pdf CAMPO Mobility 2030 Plan] , a planning guide that contains transportation policies, projects, programs and action items for the next 25 years to 2030.

On January 24, 2005, CAMPO initially adopted the CAMPO fiscal year 2006-2008 TIP.

On January 22, 2007, the CAMPO board agreed, subject to approval of area governments, to reduce the size of its board to 18 from 23 by removing legislators. The board also voted to remove the proposed Phase 2 toll roads but intends to reconsider the Phase 2 toll roads in the summer.

On October 8, 2007, the CAMPO board voted on and approved construction of 5 more toll roads, four of which to be built on existing roads. [ [http://www.statesman.com/search/content/news/stories/local/10/09/1009tolls.html Austin-American Statesman Article, Oct 9. 2007] ]

On March 31, 2008, the CAMPO board chose a new executive director, Joseph Cantalupo, currently a senior planning manager at Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. Mr. Cantalupo was chosen from a field of six candidates.

External links

* http://www.campotexas.org

Notes


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