BG Note | News - What We're Reading (February 15, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

In bid to save taxicabs, city proposes remaking them in rivals’ image (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

The Austin Transportation Department has gone public with a set of proposals aimed at saving the local taxicab industry by radically transforming it.

Acting Mobility Services Division Manager Jacob Culberson told the Urban Transportation Commission on Tuesday evening that ride-hailing transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft are existential threats to the conventional taxi companies...

News Why Austin Can't Support The Development It Knows It Needs (Bisnow Austin-San Antonio) LINK TO STORY

Selling affordable housing options to the Austin City Council is easy. Until it isn’t, as DMA Management learned when it came time for council to pare down the list of projects lined up for low-income tax credits.

Austin is facing some of the strongest pressure in the country from gentrification. Since 1990, Austin's median family income has doubled, but the median home price has quadrupled, city demographer Ryan Robinson said in an Austin Chronicle interview.
A city audit out this week suggests most anti-gentrification ideas proposed in the last decade would have little or no direct impact on affordability in the city... 

CodeNEXT draft boosts housing capacity (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

A day after the third version of CodeNEXT was unveiled, City Council members expressed cautious optimism about the proposed overhaul of Austin’s land development rules.

Notably, Council members were happy to see that the new version dramatically increased the amount of housing capacity. The second draft would have allowed for 145,000 new units to be built in Austin, while the third draft will roughly double the capacity to 287,000...

Dawnna Dukes says standing desk fell on her the night of Democratic forum (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, sent praise to medical staff at the Austin Regional Clinic in Round Rock for caring for her after an adjustable standing desk fell on her the night she was supposed to be at a forum for Travis County Democratic candidates.
“PAIN is indeed a 4 letter word; & full body sprains do hurt more than breaks,” she said in a Facebook post at 11:17 p.m. on Tuesday. “A varidesk hurts real bad when it slides into you and pens you hard on concrete.” Dukes, who is seeking re-election in House District 46, sent a message Wednesday to the American-Statesman saying she’ll be OK...


Texas Freedom Caucus sees opportunities to grow in 2018 GOP primaries (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

A feisty coalition of hardline conservatives is looking to grow its ranks with March’s Republican primaries.

And to hear some Texas House Freedom Caucus members tell it, that growth is all but guaranteed.

“I am certain the Texas Freedom Caucus will grow,” said the group’s chairman, Tyler Republican Matt Schaefer. “A larger Texas Freedom Caucus is a safe bet."...

Gov. Greg Abbott compares Sarah Davis to Wendy Davis in latest attack ad (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Gov. Greg Abbott is comparing state Rep. Sarah Davis, a fellow Republican, to his 2014 Democratic opponent, Wendy Davis, as he further intensifies his efforts to unseat the West University Place lawmaker.

Abbott's campaign is going on TV next week in Sarah Davis' District 134 with a 30-second ad that shows the two Davises side-by-side, tying the Republican to the Democrat's famous 2013 filibuster against abortion restrictions. At the time, Sarah Davis was the only GOP lawmaker who ultimately voted against the legislation that Wendy Davis was filibustering...


Trump urges GOP to consider a 25-cent hike in the gas tax (Washington Post) LINK TO STORY

President Trump tried Wednesday to persuade his fellow Republicans to raise the gas tax. In a closed-door meeting on infrastructure with members of both parties, Trump pitched the idea of a 25-cent increase in the gas tax, which hasn't been raised since 1993. There's a growing rift among Republicans about whether it's worth considering a tax hike to fund much-needed upgrades to America's roads and bridges.
“To my surprise, President Trump, today in our meeting, offered his support for raising the gas and diesel tax by 25 cents a gallon and dedicating that money to improve our roads, highways and bridges,” said Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), who attended the meeting. Carper supports the increase and said “Trump came back to the idea of a 25-cent increase several times throughout the meeting.” The president “even offered to help provide the leadership necessary so that we can do something that has proven difficult in the past,” Carper said...

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