A Grapevine man is puzzled by those ubiquitous roadside grills.
SH 130, with its 85 MPH speed limit, may finally be working—but it took the long way to get there.
The expansion of I-35 may be the worst thing that’s happened to Salado since the railroad left town.
Whose idea was it to install a Playboy sculpture in Marfa?
On August 28, 2013, we talked to Richard Phillips, the artist behind the controversial Playboy Marfa installation. Read more about the art-versus-advertising debate here.FRANCESCA MARI: When were you tapped to do this piece for Playboy?RICHARD PHILLIPS: I was contacted before the New Year by Neville Wakefield, who is the
Oil money’s nice, but actually funding our infrastructure needs is even better.
TXDOT, which holds the trademark to the circa-1985 antilittering slogan, has issued over 100 cease-and-desist letters to companies using the slogan since 2000. Somehow, all of these slipped through the cracks.
The consultant’s report, released yesterday, is now available online. Here are a couple of its salient observations: TxDOT funding situation At present, State Highway Fund revenues are not as stable as in previous years, nor are they continuing to increase at the same pace as in the past. In addition,
I received this e-mail from a lobbyist whom I have known for many years: Just got a robocall from “Texans for Kay” (was “Private Caller” on caller ID) with a clip from the Glenn Beck show about Perry is someone who says and does good things during an election but
Here is what I would do if I had been running the Hutchison campaign. I would not just sit back and let Perry punch us with the bailout day after day, week after week, month after month. I would follow the old rule: “Hang a lantern on your problem.” I
Transportation is going to be a major battleground in the governor’s race. The two camps exchanged fire after the debate. Perry spokesman Mark Miner put out a statement that accused Hutchison of making misleading statements on her TV ad about transportation policy. What the Perry camp says (from spokesman Mark
In the comments to my earlier post, “Dewhurst hits bottom,” referring to the light gov’s op-ed piece in today’s American Statesman, I wrote about what I would have done to close the budget deficit. One of my recommendations would be to raise the gasoline tax, index it to inflation, and
The danger of a special session for a governor is that he won’t get what he wants, and in failing to get it, will open himself to charges of failed leadership. That is why Perry planned to limit the session to the Sunset Safety Net bill that will continue the
Only two bills have to pass during a legislative session. One is the budget. The other is the safety-net Sunset bill. At this point, only one has passed. The death of the safety-net bill puts the existence of several state agencies, including TxDOT and the State Board of Insurance, at
HB 3827 almost touched off a Senate filibuster, but Sen. Bob Duell pulled down consideration until tomorrow. The issue is over immunity for underground storage tank leakage; Democrats feared it would give manufacturers of MTBE immunity for contamination of ground water and the cost of clean-ups would be borne by
Here is the statement his office released today: Why I Will Filibuster the TxDOT Sunset Bill, by Senator John Carona There is an old Italian saying: Dai nemici mi guardo io, dagli amici mi guardi Iddio. It means "I can protect myself from my enemies; may God protect me from
At today’s post-Senate session press avail, Sen. Steve Ogden says the final budget document approved by conferees shapes public policy in several big ways, including: 1. “A dramatic shift in policy in how we serve mentally retarded Texans” represented by a $500 million increase in total funds for community services
During today’s Senate transportation hearing, Hegar expressed concern that the eminent domain issue might not pass the House, and that as a last resort it should be included in the TxDOT sunset bill. The disappearance of eminent domain from the radar screen is very curious. After all, this was one
I’ve been watching Senate Transportation on TV. Hegar is talking about the process: “There is a prevailing thought among the public that they want their tax dollars to be used to build roads, nothing more, nothing less. They want transparency and accountability in the agency, nothing more, nothing less.” …
I overlooked one other significant change to the bill (and no doubt there are others). Amendment 134 extended the authority for Comprehensive Development Agreements — that is, privatized roads. The authority was extended to 2015. This was done in spite of representations that the bill would not deal with methods
The House was out of control Thursday during the debate on the TxDOT Sunset bill. The process was living proof of the old saying that there are two things you should never see being made: sausage and legislation. This was not serious lawmaking. It was an orgy--an orgy of hatred
This report is based on interviews, not an actual reading of the bill. The bill does two significant things. One is that it substantially reduces the discretionary authority of TxDOT and the Highway Commission to dictate transportation plans to local areas, while expanding the authority of Metropolitan Planning Organizations to
You can see the train wreck coming: a special session over the budget and the stimulus package. Speculation is rampant that Perry will veto the appropriations bill, but he may not even have a bill to veto. The difficulties of melding the budget with the stimulus funds (and the rules
This will not come as news to anyone who has kept up with transportation issues in the stimulus package: Dunnam loveth not TxDOT. On Friday he filed H.B. 2701, which would abolish the Transportation Commission and replace it with an elected commissioner. The legislation provides that in the event the
This post has been revised since its initial publication. 1. The Tom Schieffer candidacy. Patricia Kilday Hart and I interviewed Tom Schieffer about his race for the Democratic nomination governor. Interestingly, Schieffer asked to go off the record before the interview to discuss the events that led to his being
The stimulus package requires that state transportation agencies give priority to “economically distressed” areas in allocating money to highway projects. An economically distressed area is defined as a county with a per capital income that is no more than 80% of the national average, or a county with an unemployment
Yesterday (Wednesday) was a tough day for TxDOT. After the usual routine of resolutions congratulating this and that, and welcoming these and those, the House session ended with a resolution aimed squarely at the transportation agency. Dunnam, Coleman, and other lawmakers are unhappy that TxDOT rushed to decide how to
I just want to raise a question, based on Carl Isett’s decision, announced yesterday, that he would handle the TxDOT and Texas Department of Insurance Sunset bills on the floor: Should the Sunset bills be carried by the appointees to the Sunset Commission, or by the committee chairs of the
Sen. John Carona’s SJR 8, which allows the gas tax to be indexed to the rate of inflation, is traveling in the fast lane (is there such a thing as too many traffic metaphors?) since Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst referred it to Carona’s own Transportation Committee, instead of the not-so-friendly
Burka and Eileen preview the legislative sunset: How does an agency “misplace” $1 billion? Or lose one-third of its criminal files? Or let the governor’s mansion get torched? Or screw Texas homeowners? Don’t get mad, get even. Honorably mentioned: Steve Ogden, Lois Kolkhorst, John Carona, and Wayne Smith. Not so
Rick Perry’s Trans-Texas corridor conundrum.