I last saw Ted Strauss four weeks ago. He was in a wheelchair, and he wasn’t happy. “How are you?” I asked. “Worth shit,” he answered with a scowl. Then as he was being wheeled away a sly smile broke out on his face. “Remind me that I have a story to tell you,” he […]Full Story
The controversy over I-345 — and how TxDOT and its local partner, Michael Morris have handled it — could not come at a worse time for the highway agency. On the ballot in November is a constitutional amendment to increase the agency’s funding by $1.25 billion a year by drawing down on the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
The Legislature only granted this small amount after considerable wrangling. The agency by its own account needs an additional $4.5 billion a year just to keep up with the state’s population growth. But legislators are just as wary of the agency’s obfuscations, wild estimates, changing stories, alarmist traffic simulations, and bungling public relations as Dallas leaders in the last two months have learned to be.
Yet those same Dallas leaders say the agency needs every dollar it can get. Texas is exploding in population, roads are already inadequate, and cutbacks to maintenance could have severe economic consequences. So why is TxDOT — like a lumbering elephant — walking all over Dallas right when it needs our votes?
Now might be a good time for the Texas Transportation Commission, whose five members are probably more politically astute than highway engineers, to get that elephant under control. TxDOT seems to have a talent for alienating legislators. If it alienates North Texas, it could lose its only chance for new funding. That would be tragedy not just for the agency but for Texas.Full Story
In 2010 I wrote a cover story on John Carona entitled “The Last Republican.” Why that title? Because John represented the last and the best of the old GOP.
He believed in a state government that was fiscally responsible, paying its bills, keeping debt down, and planning for the future. The new Republicans seem to believe in only one thing: no new taxes. If that means we have tollroads instead of state roads at four times the cost to the taxpayer (because the private owners have to recoup their investment), that’s fine with them, because it means no new taxes. If it means state government borrows to keep up with population growth, that’s fine with them, because it means no new taxes (and it also means that one state agency, TXDOT, is $30 billion in debt with service on that debt taking up one-half its budget). In this new regime, short-sightedness is a virtue. It drove John Carona crazy.Full Story
We’re so accustomed to Dallas Congressman Pete Sessions’ mishaps, corruption foibles, and non-sequiturs that a favorable story comes as a pleasant surprise — no, make that a complete shock. Nevertheless, here it is. Matt Fuller and Emma Dumain of the Capitol Hill weekly Roll Call canvassed Republicans and Democrats on the Rules Committee to discover that Sessions […]Full Story
Ask Tesla owners how easy buying the whiz-bang electric car is in the Lone Star State compared to the other 49, and you’ll learn just how much Texas values competition. Indeed, what the Texas Legislature seems to value most is cash. But there’s a larger problem at play here, in the age of disruptive technologies […]Full Story
There’s a little Washington kerfuffle going on right now over whether Dallas’ Pete Sessions, in a meeting of congressional Republicans with the president in October, said to him, “I can’t even stand to look at you.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it happened, and it was Sessions who said it. A Sessions spokeswoman denies […]Full Story
Or when frustrated drivers start busting right through them, the airport may find itself without any gates left. From a FrontBurnervian: Tried to exit DFW about 7:30 last night. System was down — at least intermittently — and wouldn’t read my tolltag. Not just me. In the lane to my right, there was nearly a riot and someone just […]Full Story
Some of us would like to think that there are reasonable, sane, and responsible Republican members of the House. And apparently there are: 87 Reps joined with Dems to end the GOP-created crisis that almost cratered the world economy. But Dallas Republicans were not among them. Joe Barton, Jeb Hensarling, Sam Johnson, Pete Sessions, Kenny […]Full Story
It’s not easy being Pete Sessions, our redoubtable Dallas congressman. First, you have to go along with whatever your party bosses tell you. Second, you have to go along even when your party bosses don’t know what they’re doing. Third, you then have to participate in dumb publicity stunts like taking bolt cutters to the […]Full Story
The U.S. military has spent wasted billions on equipment it has never used and does not need. For example, this prime $600,000 MRAPS (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle, which the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department — with permission from the Commissioners Court — took possession of last week. The department says it will be helpful in serving warrants. […]Full Story
Yesterday, ending a busy and fruitless week of bluster and haranguing for no discernible result, Ted Cruz capped it off by appearing via telelink at the Texas Tribune’s Tribfest in Austin. When asked point-blank by moderator Evan Smith if he would endorse his Texas colleague in the Senate for re-election, he said no. He then […]Full Story
DFW Airport has issued an apology and says the problem is fixed. Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport today is apologizing to NTTA TollTag customers who have been unintentionally and inaccurately charged at the Airport in recent weeks, following the change to DFW’s new Parking Control System. The Airport believes the issues causing the erroneous charges […]Full Story
A FrontBurnervian’s experience confirms that DFW Airport management has a created big mess and is not even close to fixing it: So last week I picked up a guy at the airport Thursday evening and took him back early Friday morning and the “new and improved” airport gate system billed me $18. NTTA told me on the phone […]Full Story
Expect major delays at DFW. They installed a new entry and exit system last week. Their website is all happy about it: We know that when you travel, you want the fastest, most efficient process possible. With the new plazas, this is exactly what you can expect. The entry lanes are now fully automated… go ahead and […]Full Story
The great Brian Sweany of Texas Monthly (still, after all these years, it hurts to say that) offers GOP gubernatorial candidate and Dallas native Tom Pauken the chance to lay out his case, which opportunity Pauken seizes with both hands. On the American Airlines merger, crony capitalism, education — this would make a helluva debate. My […]Full Story