Long-time Fort Worth civic leader Bill Meadows will be appointed today to the Texas Transportation Commission, several sources say. He'll be the first Fort Worth guy to hold the post since Robert M. Bass in 1986-87. Meadows is an insurance executive and former four-term member of the Fort Worth City Council.
He's also served on the North Texas Tollway Authority board since 2004, and is widely credited with being a voice of reason as that agency engaged in a power struggle with the Texas Department of Transportation over which entity should take the lead in building toll roads to relieve choking gridlock in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Gov. Rick Perry is expected to announce the appointment Wednesday afternoon. Perry also will appoint his former chief of staff, Deirdre Delisi, to the transportation commission, despite opposition from Austin lawmakers who argued earlier this year that Delisi would be a polarizing force. Delisi is expected to champion the governor's call for market forces and private investment in Texas roads, including toll roads -- a philosophy that many lawmakers oppose.
Meadows' appointment, however, is widely supported, several North Texas legislators say.
The Texas Transportation Commission governs the Texas Department of Transportation and is the state's primary force in planning how people and goods will move across the state in the coming decades. The commission also is responsible for guiding the planning process of the controversial Trans-Texas Corridor, a proposed statewide network of toll roads, rail lines and utilities.
Tarrant County officials are excited about Meadows' appointment, saying he will help focus the state's attention on solving the increasingly poor congestion problems in the western portion of Dallas-Fort Worth.
Once the appointment is official, Meadows is expected to resign his board position on the North Texas Tollway Authority, another state agency that is based in Plano and oversees the Metroplex tollway system. The Tarrant County Commissioner's Court would select a replacement for Meadows on that board.
In Austin, the appointments of Meadows and Delisi would fill two vacancies on the state commission created by the December death of commission chairman Ric Williamson of Weatherford, and the expired term of commissioner Hope Andrade of San Antonio.