Wednesday, December 8, 2021

NTTA talking points are just a mumbling mess

By Darryl Blair
Guest Columnist
Publisher, Elite News

I am not convinced.

In case you missed it, the North Dallas Gazette is running a series of interviews regarding the Minority and Women in Business Enterprise (M/WBE) program at the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA). In the second video, Jackie Hardy interviews Moses Aito, who is the director of Business Diversity for NTTA.

Daryl Blair (Courtesy photo)

Now iif you’ve had your ear to the ground in the minority business community for a while, the subject of the NTTA is nothing new. There has been persistent grumbling, in particular from African American businesses, as to how the NTTA always manages to overlook them.

I give Aito credit, at least he showed up.

However, to say I found his answers to be disingenuous would be an understatement. A review concluded there were disparities in the firm’s M/WBE performance, and the summation that “there are disparities everywhere” just doesn’t cut it.

The NTTA is famously thorough when it comes to making sure drivers pay their toll fees. Let’s not forget that drivers who fell short of expectations when it came to paying up, often found themselves unable to register their vehicles. It’s a hard line that is drawn when it comes to the public’s obligation to the NTTA, so I don’t think we should be so soft when it comes to the NTTA living up to its obligation to the minority community.

When pressed on these issues, Aiito’s bureaucratic tone was evasive, and in some cases he simply did not answer the question directly. If the answer was uncomfortable, it was an awkward pivot to prepared “talking points” and slogans.

On the positive side, a minority business initiative does exit within the NTTA, but it is “fool’s gold” for the minority community to look for real advocacy from a career bureaucrat; especially one who bounces from one minority program to another with no real measurement of his tenure to objectively assess the impact of his presence.

Aito seemed scripted and most likely directed by NTTA’s PR department during the interview. It makes you wonder what his real thoughts are, and not just what his employer would have him say.

(Editor’s Note: Catch the interview Blair responds to on the North Dallas Gazette Youtube channel. “NDG Close Up (Ep. 02)” is available at https://youtu.be/iqC7hTdPsnc.)

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