June 22, 2007
Tomorrow is a big day. Liz and I were married 28 years ago on June 23, 1979. I’m making no silly joke about it. After 28 years, I’m not that dumb. Plus, it just doesn’t seem right to make a joke when this is the only anniversary card she may get.
I was however dumb enough to leave my truck windows down on one of those nights this past week when it rained like crazy. After toweling off as much of the interior as I could (and taking over Preston’s car to avoid sitting in a wet seat), I left the windows down to let the sopping, stinking vehicle air out. Since the sky looked clear to me, I let the truck air out right up until the next time it rained. So, I basically got the inside of my truck washed down twice. There’s some sort of science experiment going on inside it. It smells as bad as you might guess. It’s like driving a terrarium, although the optimist in me likes to think of it as “aromatherapy”.
Which brings us to my favorite policy topic (or, at least, the one I seem to talk about the most): Transportation. My truck is a mess, and transportation is a mess that the state won’t fix.As much as I hate to bring you down in the Watson Wire, I have to report that the Legislature just missed its best opportunity in years to make some hard transportation decisions that could have addressed many of the challenges and controversies facing this state. I’ve summarized what happened with some of the more important transportation initiatives here. Briefly, let me tell you:
Unlike the Legislature, the problem isn’t going anywhere. Congestion already extends rush hour for half the day and clogs Interstate 35 at all hours. As more people come here and budgets get tighter, the problem will only get worse.Few challenges will have as much impact as this one on the way most Texans live their lives over the next generation. It’s not just that people will spend more and more time sitting in traffic going to and from work – it’s that they’ll lose all of that time with their families and friends.So transportation isn’t merely a big economic and environmental concern – though it has dire consequences in both areas. More than that, it’s a quality-of-life crisis for more and more Texans. While I certainly wish my colleagues had given us more tools to solve this challenge, I nevertheless intend to use everything we have to address it now. The time has come – really, the time has past – to come together, help the Central Texans who are already here, and ensure that our children don’t have to pay for our errors and inaction. It will mean we have to be honest about our limited financing choices. There’s going to be a lot happening on this issue over the next few months, so expect to hear more about it this summer.Until then, stay cool.