- Special Sections
- Public Notices
After reading some very imaginative interpretations of what the county’s transportation board is, isn’t or should be, I feel compelled as recently elected board chair to try and dispel any misinformation about what the board is and what it is intended to be.
The Los Alamos Transportation Board is a volunteer organization. Like each board and commission, the job of the TB is to work with staff, review issues in the interest of the particular board, take public comment and make recommendations to council.
These recommendations do not have to be a reflection of public sentiment — the boards have the independence to act in what the board feels is giving its best advice.
The TB is staffed by county residents with a range of occupations and interests. None of the current members are traffic engineers (though Charlie Trask was on for a while), nor do they necessarily have any engineering credentials.
It is a citizen board that attempts to guide county transportation policy in the best interests of the community.
TB members might work full-time and might be involved in activities related to church, family, athletics, music, travel, hobbies, etc.
But not having the time to indulge in comprehensive engineering studies is beside the point, because that’s outside of the scope and purpose of the board.
In the case of the Trinity design study, the TB reviewed dozens of reports, case studies, design evaluations, professional analyses, and extensive community input.
The output from that process was ultimately a recommendation for further research, which is where we are now.
Why is the TB needed? Who are they to assert the authority to make transportation policy recommendations to the County Council?
Well, like all boards and commissions, the TB is mandated to make transportation policy recommendations to the council.
As an extreme example, say we had a mayor whose cousin ran a plant two miles out of town and there was suddenly an expensive new road proposal on the table.
The TB might make a recommendation that a “conflict of interest” check be added to project planning policy.
A closer to home example could be a case in which current and future residential and commercial facilities are not adequately served by the existing transportation infrastructure.
The TB would serve to alert and advise the council of the deficiency and make a recommendation that the road design accommodate the needs of the users.
There are special interests represented on the TB, and there should be. There are advocates for pedestrians, bicyclists, sustainability, integrated planning, auto enthusiasts, etc.
The majority of transportation within the county is done in a light gasoline-powered vehicle, and that will probably be true for some time.
I happen to be a rabid car and transportation-technology enthusiast, but I also have first-hand experience with almost every mode of transportation used within the county.
I walk, run, ride bicycles, motorcycles, buses, horses, drive cars, fly airplanes, and even (though some would argue not often enough) groom ski trails. As such, I feel I can contribute to the TB effectively.
The TB is in need of applicants, so if you have relevant skills, background, interest and desire, please consider serving the community on the TB.
All TB meetings and minutes are publicly accessible. Your constructive criticism is critical to the effectiveness of the TB.
Eugene Dougherty, chair