‘Born and raised’ Texans forced to prove identities under new voter ID law | theguardian.com

There are so many things wrong with this, it is hard to know where start. Yep, it’s a law that solves a problem, which for the most part doesn’t exist. The fact it takes Eric Keniie 3-buses to get to a vital Texas state service, just shows how broken our transport system is in Austin. Here is a man, which, if as reported, seems a reasonable grasp on life, and a good approach, who makes living as a scrapper, foraging in other peoples garbage and when feeling flush, handout food to neighbors. So much for the Texas miracle. ‘Born and raised’ … Continue reading ‘Born and raised’ Texans forced to prove identities under new voter ID law | theguardian.com

There are no $1.4 Billion do-overs

There is a better choice and it’s worth the wait, Austin’s strongest and densest corridor: Guadalupe-North Lamar.. Communities want light rail on that route and have written it into the neighborhood plans. The FTA has said it would consider funding a MetroRapid bus-to-light rail conversion in that corridor. Continue reading There are no $1.4 Billion do-overs

Prop-1 The Wrong Rail for Austin

From where I see it, this was never about rail, it was always about developing an under-developed corridor of central Austin. A previously undesirable corridor because of it’s proximity to I35 and the noise and congestion associate, along with specific properties, which, without rail wouldn’t be nearly as viable or valuable. Continue reading Prop-1 The Wrong Rail for Austin

Decaying Texas

It’s been an interesting month. I live in Austin Texas, boom town USA. Everything is happening in construction, although nothing much in transport. In many ways Austin reminds me of rapidly developing cities in China, India and other developing countries. I’ve travelled some inside Texas, but most on I10 and out East. I’ve tended to dismiss what I’ve seen in small towns, mostly because I figured they were unrepresentative. Earlier this month I did my first real US roadtrip. I had my Mum with me for a month and figured a week or so out of the heat of Texas … Continue reading Decaying Texas

Rail isn’t about Congestion

Prop.1 on the Austin November ballot is an attempt to fund the largest single bond in Austin history, almost half the $1 billion going to the light rail proposal. Finally people seem to be getting the fact that the light rail, if funded, won’t help with the existing traffic. KUT had a good review of this yesterday, the comments also some useful links. You can listen to the segment here: Is a Light Rail Line Going to Solve Austin’s Traffic Problems? Jace Deloney, makes some good points, what no one is saying though, and what I believe is the real reason … Continue reading Rail isn’t about Congestion

Property Tax, Travis county, Austin

There are a number of threads running through the posts on this blog about Austin and Texas. One key aspect of them is how things get paid for, and what gets paid for. Since Texas(bigger than Germany, approx. 7/8 the Population of Germany) has no income tax, as boasts about it’s low corporate taxes, apart from the 6.25% sales tax, property tax is key. Property tax, the valuation and assessment of properties has become both increasingly complex, and for many long term residents, unaffordable. Among those arguing for greater density in Austin, there are calls for better transportation, more affordable … Continue reading Property Tax, Travis county, Austin

Happy 4th to all my US Readers…

Happy 4th of July. This was my token yearly protest at 6:30am this morning, throwing a tea bag into Lake Austin from the Congress (bat) bridge. No taxation without representation! The reality is I pay little tax in Texas, not counting what the State takes from the federal government. However, I for one would be willing to pay state income tax if it helped fix the deep inequalities in the property tax, which have arisen from people like me moving to Austin, and driving huge increases in property taxes. The state of Travis county property taxes is in itself deeply … Continue reading Happy 4th to all my US Readers…

The Texas Freedom Illusion

Governor Perry is well known for his brags that “the Lone Star State’s winning mix of low taxes, reasonable regulatory structure, fair court system and world-class workforce has been paying dividends” and bringing business to Texas, even when it isn’t true. For the day to day Texan, their freedom is becoming increasingly an illusion too. To have real freedom, you need choice. Increasingly Texans have no freedom, because they have no choice. This week, Attorney General Abbott confirmed the ban of releasing information to the public as Tier II reports in the 1986 Emergancy Planning and Community Right to Know Act … Continue reading The Texas Freedom Illusion