BG Reads | News You Need to Know (June 12, 2019)



Where Austin wants to build 60,000 affordable housing units (KXAN)

The Austin City Council is now setting out to meet some very specific goals to try to help solve the city's affordability crisis.

According to a resolution approved June 6, the city will aim to produce a total of 135,000 new housing units, including at least 60,000 new income-restricted units by 2027.

The plan divides the 60,000 units into the 10 City Council districts:

•District 1: 7,086 affordable units

• District 2: 4,492 affordable units

• District 3: 6,295 affordable units

• District 4: 3,105 affordable units

• District 5: 4,473 affordable units

• District 6: 8,590 affordable units

• District 7: 6,651 affordable units

• District 8: 7,217 affordable units

• District 9: 3,635 affordable units

• District 10: 8,456 affordable units…


Austin has some of the worst traffic congestion in the world study finds (Austin American-Statesman)

Austin was ranked as having some of the worst traffic congestion problems in the world this past year, according to navigation provider company TomTom. 

TomTom conducted a global index study measuring 2018 traffic in 403 cities across the globe. The index ranked Austin No. 19 in the U.S. for most congested traffic, and No. 179 globally.

Austin was also ranked above every other city in Texas for having the worst traffic congestion. 

According to the index, drivers in Austin will have their travel time increase by an average of 25% due to traffic congestion. The worst time to be on the road are weekday evenings from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., where travel times can be an average of 63% longer… (LINK TO STORY)

Despite ‘fuzzy’ answers, Planning Commission approves 4700 E. Riverside project (Austin Monitor)

After three hours of discussion and deliberation against the backdrop of incessant shouting and profanities from members of Defend Our Hoodz, the Planning Commission voted 7-4 to forgo staff’s recommendation and approve the rezoning of the five tracts composing 4700 E. Riverside, as requested by the applicant, Presidium Group.

In a nutshell, the applicant’s rezoning request would clear the current apartment complexes, the Ballpark North, Town Lake, and the Quad East, West and South, which are 60 percent student-occupied, and allow for the construction of 4,709 multifamily units, 600 hotel rooms, 4 million square feet of office space and 435,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

The five tracts that make up the 97-acre property are currently zoned East Riverside Corridor (ERC) district-Neighborhood Mixed Use (NMU) and Urban Residential (UR) subdistricts. The request before the Planning Commission was to change that zoning to East Riverside Corridor (ERC) district-Corridor Mixed Use (CMU) subdistrict… (LINK TO STORY)


Gov. Greg Abbott signs $11.6 billion school finance measure into law (Texas Tribune)

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law one of lawmakers' biggest achievements this year, a massive overhaul of Texas' long-beleaguered school finance system.

Abbott put his signature on House Bill 3 during a triumphant ceremony Tuesday at Parmer Lane Elementary School in Austin. The governor was flanked by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and several lawmakers involved in the effort.

"You could not overstate the magnitude of the law that I'm about to sign because this is a monumental moment in public education history in the state of Texas," Abbott said. "We did something that was considered to be highly improbable, and that is to be able to transform public education in the state of Texas without a court order forcing us to do so…(LINK TO STORY)

Expect a large field in Texas House race to replace newly elected Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson (Dallas Morning News)

Dallas community advocate Lorraine Birabil has launched a campaign to replace outgoing state Rep. Eric Johnson, becoming the first of what's expected to be a large field of contenders. She told The Dallas Morning News that it's critical for lawmakers to help develop criminal justice reform, access to affordable health care and quality public schools.

Birabil won't have the field to herself. The race to replace Johnson, who won Saturday's runoff for Dallas mayor, is expected to be highly competitive. At least 11 people have expressed interest or have been mentioned as possible candidates to fill his unexpired term in the Texas House. That number could grow by the time Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sets a special election, presumably in November, to fill Johnson's seat… (LINK TO STORY)

Rapper Scarface announces run for Houston City Council seat (Houston Chronicle)

Your mind isn't playing tricks. A former member of the pioneering hip-hop group Geto Boys could wind up representing a large part of the city. Brad Jordan, better known as his rap moniker "Scarface," on Sunday announced his bid for Houston City Council District D.

The seat is currently held by Councilman Dwight Boykins, who recently filed paperwork indicating he will run for mayor, according to earlier reports in the Houston Chronicle. The district includes the Texas Medical Center, the Astrodome area, the Museum District, Texas Southern University and the University of Houston. City officials confirmed that Jordan has already filed a campaign treasurer, Oma Terry… (LINK TO STORY)


Trump Wants To Limit Aid For Low-Income Americans. A Look At His Proposals (KUT)

If you're poor or low-income in the U.S. and use government safety net programs, you could be affected by a number of new rules and actions proposed by the Trump administration. Most of the changes are still pending, and anti-poverty groups are trying to stop them from going into effect. Some of the proposals already face legal challenges.

President Trump has said repeatedly that he wants to get more people off government aid and into the workforce so they can become self-sufficient. To help do that, he issued an executive order last year to reduce poverty "by promoting opportunity and economic mobility."… (LINK TO STORY)

The Bingham Group, LLC is an Austin-based full service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on municipal, legislative, and regulatory matters throughout Texas.


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