Mini Texas Round-Up

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  • Feds make it known that Texas Voter ID laws would be subject to Justice Department approval.
  • President Perry? No, not of Texas, of the United States. Or maybe not.
  • Who the hell is enrolling in journalism school right now?
  • Hundreds of students walk out to protest bill in the Texas lege to allow concealed hand-guns on university campuses.
  • Barack Obama rolls out $8 billion high speed rail proposal. If you check the map, Texas would see 2 different routes, one from Houston along the Gulf Coast and another from San Antonio north through Austin and DFW to Oklahoma.
  • Speaking of rail, a good argument by the Austin Contrarian.

    Light rail will never be cheaper to build than it is right now.  Labor and materials are cheaper than they have been in a long time, and much cheaper than they will be after the economy recovers.

    Austin will never have a better chance of getting a large chunk of federal money.  The Obama administration likes transit.  It is willing to fund transit.  But who knows whether Obama will still be in office on January 23, 2013.  Approval ratings are fleeting.  And even if he remains in office, gargantuan budget deficits might tie his hands.  Now is the time to act.

    A lot of people are having a tough time right now.  But which pinches more:  Paying 60 cents on the dollar during relatively tough times, or 100 cents on the dollar during relatively flush times?  The first is the better deal, in my opinion.

    And who's to say things will be so dire in 2010, or in 2011, when the first bond payments would be due?  If the economy has improved, then we will have lost a great opportunity by not preparing for the bond election.  And if things are still bad, then Austin's good citizens can vote down than the bonds.  That's what democracy is all about.

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Former Publisher & Owner of the Burnt Orange Report. Political Thinker, Digital Explorer, and Time Traveler.

14 Comments

    • Delete Light Rail and substitute Affordable Housing Projects
      That would make the Austin Contrarian argument even better. Or better yet, make developing more affordable housing on proposed light rail lines part of the same package.

      Running light rail lines along Riverside Dr. and Manor Road corridors without promoting affordable housing only promotes further gentrification of existing diverse neighborhoods.

      • Silly
        Adding housing supply, which is what will happen on Riverside, always makes things cheaper than they would otherwise be for the market as a whole (even if in that particular subarea prices might go up). Certainly the student complexes out there have gotten proportionally cheaper thanks to new development in West Campus, for instance.

        • Kedron Touvell on

          not that silly
          gentrification will happen if we pursue policies that lead to the redevelopment of Riverside, the questions are whether the benefits outweigh the costs, and whether we can mitigate the effects.  If we redevelop Riverside and it results in the costs of Mueller homes dropping by 10%, that doesn't really help the poor families forced to move to Rundberg or, if they're lucky, Del Valle (although it will benefit others in Austin).  Gentrification is about localized impact to existing families and neighborhoods, not overall benefit to the city.  I don't think we have a good solution to this problem yet.  Even requiring a 20% of units mitigation as has been proposed might not be possible or effective.

  1. High-speed rail
    Connecting Houston to New Orleans but not Dallas is simply insane.  We need a better way to get to Big D without Southwest Airlines or a highway.

    • Why Dallas?
      Austin Capitol Metro owns rail line from Llano to Giddings. I have read that Harris County/Houston Metro plans to extend their rail west to Hempstead. The distance from Giddings to Hempstead is just 56 miles. Why not connect Houston to Austin with a spur to San Antonio? Austin's affordable bedroom communities along Hwy 290 and I-35 could have local mass transit on the same rail corridors. Or is this just another “teabag” ideal?

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