METRO: We'll release public information when we feel like it
The Chronicle's Rosanna Ruiz reports today that METRO refuses to hand over any information about the multi-billion dollar contract that it will vote on tomorrow:
The Metropolitan Transit Authority continued to withhold the anticipated overall price tag on its next four light rail lines Tuesday in advance of Wednesday's board vote on a contract with Parsons Transportation Group.
Metro spokesman George Smalley said the cost, which he described only as “more than $1 billion,” would not be disclosed until just before the board of directors votes on the contract Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier this week, Wolff defended the agency’s silence, saying negotiations likely would continue until the last possible moment before the vote and the terms likely would change.
Ruiz quotes friend Jennifer Peebles of Texas Watchdog:
“If the public can’t find out what’s going on until two seconds before the board makes a decision, that’s just too late,” said Jennifer Peebles, of the nonpartisan Texas Watchdog. “If they are not giving details before the vote and not allowing us a chance to weigh in, they’re making decisions in a bubble.”
Peebles elaborates in this Texas Watchdog blog post.
Readers of blogHOUSTON will not be surprised that METRO is being secretive with what should be the public's information, since frequent commenter Tom Bazan is regularly given the runaround by the organization when he requests information. Rosanna Ruiz's predecessors never seemed that interested in the organization's efforts to deny information to the public -- or, for that matter, METRO President and CEO Frank "Procurement Disaster" Wilson's shady background -- so it's nice to see Ruiz reporting more aggressively on the organization.
Unfortunately, it seems as if we're only going to get the information when METRO is good and ready for us to get the information.