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Mayor Parker names new METRO board appointees

5 new members

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Mayor Annise Parker on Thursday named five appointees to serve on METRO’s 9-person board, according to ABC 13 News and the Houston Chronicle.

Her choices, which are expected to be presented to City Council for approval on April 7, include the following names, according to both stories:

1. Gilbert Garcia, an investment banker and Parker transition team co-chair
2. Christof Spieler, a blogger and transportation analyst on the board of the Citizens’ Transportation Coalition
3. Dwight E. Jefferson, a lawyer
4. Carrin S. Patman, a lawyer
5. Allen Dale Watson, engineer of Cobb Fendley.

Garcia will serve as chairman of the Metro board, notes the Chronicle.

Parker said the group “can provide the leadership, transparency, and accountability needed as we move to restore public trust in METRO.”  She added that transition task force findings, carried out by five different subcommittees reviewing METRO’s finances, light rail plans, regional coordination, basic services, and small business enterprise program, during the last nine weeks confirmed the need for new management at the transit agency, according to Guidry News:

“Although each subcommittee conducted its work independently, common themes emerged that confirm the need for new management at METRO,” Parker said.  “There are questions about the design and cost of rail expansion, communication issues, stakeholder frustration and a glaring need for a regional approach to mass transit.  We know there will be sufficient funding to build three new rail lines.  However, hurdles remain for funding a five line system.  I am committed to five lines, but we may need to proceed in phases.”

A METRO task force designated by Parker also revealed its findings within the last week. Parker has been critical of METRO in the past and wanted the task force to examine its operations and find ways to improve the agency.

Full stories:
ABC 13 News
Guidry News (w/ audio of press conference)
Houston Chronicle


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