November 30, 2009
Any holiday that focuses on family, food, and football just has to have the word “Thanks” in it, right?
I’m probably still digesting something. But – call it serving leftovers – I did want to make sure you saw a couple of things that happened last week.
Over the last few months, I’ve been involved in a long-running dispute with – guess who – the Texas Department of Transportation. This time, it’s over TxDOT’s apparent efforts to keep the state comptroller from certifying a budget measure that would put money into the Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund, which voters created in 2005 but the state’s budget writers have never funded.
The budget measure was based on a bill I filed during the last legislative session to dedicate certain streams of transportation money to the rail fund (transportation money going to transportation – what a concept). I worked hard – with TxDOT – to create a bill that would provide money to important rail projects while protecting the state’s highway funding.
In recent weeks, however, the department has latched onto a technicality, arguing that it should prevent the money from going to rail relocation.
It gets a little complex, so check out this article if you want to learn more about it. But suffice it to say that once again, TxDOT is setting a new standard for arrogance and a lack of transparency.
The Capitol Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), which I chair, has undertaken an unprecedented approach to planning. CAMPO is a regional organization that is the area’s primary transportation planning entity. We’re in the process of updating the region’s 25-year plan.
I’m very proud of the approach we’re taking. It’s different than what’s been done in the past. The Chronicle ran a piece about what’s going on last Thursday. You can read it here.
Finally, I wanted to be sure you’d seen this editorial about an important effort to launch a far-reaching pilot project that would lift up an Austin community and provide new opportunity to the kids growing up there.
It’s known as the Promise Neighborhood Initiative; you can read more about it here. I’ll have a lot more to say about this effort in the coming weeks and months. But suffice it to say, it’s an amazing chance – maybe a once-in-a-lifetime chance – to make a difference for children in this community.
Thanks for your interest. Happy Thanksgiving.