Bexar County Commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to appoint Jordana Decamps Mathews, the County’s former director of economic development, to the VIA Metropolitan Transit board of trustees.
“In the next 10 years, transportation will be what defines leading communities in our country,” Decamps Mathews told the Rivard Report on Monday. As a San Antonio native, she said she wants the city to be among those communities.
Her appointment comes two weeks after Commissioners voted to name Marina Alderete Gavito, an innovation business development director at USAA and former Tech Bloc executive director, as board trustee. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said Monday that the two appointments represent the County’s effort to add younger and more innovative influencers to the 11-member board.
Decamps Mathews, who recently became chief executive officer of The Mathews Consulting Group after working in the County’s economic development office since 2012, will replace former UTSA political science professor Richard Gambitta, who began serving on the VIA board that same year.
“I’ve seen lots take place, and now there’s real challenges,” Gambitta said.
He highlighted the need for appointees to be more tech savvy and continue the work of developing transit-oriented communities whereby housing and public transit options are advanced in unison.
In her application, Decamps Mathews said she would use her connections in the tech community to drive innovation for VIA’s future. She noted the importance of linking residences to workplaces through public transit, which she sought to connect when she worked to bring employers to Bexar County.
Commissioner Kevin Wolff (Pct. 3), who sponsored her appointment, said she would need to familiarize herself with VIA’s statistics on accessibility in order to create proposals for potential employers that would want to assure their employees have reliable transportation to and from work.
“One of the things she and I have talked about numerous times is that while it’s not real sexy, your basic infrastructure, especially transportation infrastructure is the equivalent of your circulatory system in your body,” Kevin Wolff said.
Decamps Mathews said VIA officials “should be looking at everything” when it comes to securing innovative funding methods and future transit options. Two of the City of San Antonio’s potential appointees made similar recommendations. The full City Council will vote to appoint those three candidates this Thursday.
Bexar County appoints three trustees to the board, the City five, and members of the Greater Bexar County Council of Cities two. If City Council approves its three appointees later this week, half of the board’s members will be new.
VIA’s current board chair, Hope Andrade, announced her resignation earlier this year. While the VIA board is responsible for electing a new chair, Judge Wolff and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg plan on announcing a recommendation in the near future.
The vice chair position, previously held by Lester Bryant, a financial services professional at Mass Mutual of South Texas, also needs to be filled.