21st Century Transportation Updates

News Release | TexPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Austin approves contract to acquire nearly 200 new electric buses

 

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (CapMetro) board of directors approved a new contract on Wednesday to purchase 197 new electric buses over the next five years for Austin’s public fleets, one of the largest electric vehicle purchases ever made in the United States. 

Rethink and replace I-35

By | Bay Scoggin
State Director

The Texas Department of Transportation is requesting public comment about their proposed expansion of Interestate 35 through downtown Austin. We don't think the project is a good idea; that's why we highlighted it in our annual Highway Boondoggle report. Here's what we had to say on the record to TxDOT about the plan. 

Houston METRO Takes the Lead on Electric Buses

By | Bay Scoggin
State Director

On Thursday, METRO announced that it would add 20 new zero-emission electric buses and 10 electric cutaway shuttles to their fleet starting in spring of next year. This announcement came as part of METRO’s newly proposed goal of transitioning their entire fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2030. 

News Release | TexPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Houston METRO plans to purchase 20 new electric buses

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) staff announced last week a proposal to transition their transit fleet to zero-emission vehicles. This announcement came as part of METRO’s new electric bus initiative, which will add 10 new zero-emission electric buses and 10 electric cutaway buses to their fleet starting in spring of next year.

News Release | TexPIRG | Transportation

United States Department of Transportation puts another brake on Houston’s proposed I-45 expansion 

The United States Department of Transportation has reportedly told Texas transportation officials on Wednesday to stop eminent domain activities around a proposed multi-billion highway widening project that would cut through downtown Houston. Estimated at $7.5 billion, the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP) would widen I-45 in three sections, impacting more than 70 miles of interstate, worsen Houston’s already poor air pollution, and displace more than 1,000 residents, businesses, multiple houses of worship and schools. 

Bay Scoggin, executive director of TexPIRG, issued the following statement:

 

“As one of the nation's worst highway boondoggles, the North Houston Highway Improvement Project would bring nothing but more cars and dirtier air to a city already drowning in traffic and pollution. The federal government’s recognition that Texas has not done its due diligence on a project which, by TxDOT's own admission, would displace thousands of Houstonians, is a crucial next step in the years-long advocacy against the widening of I-45. Let’s take a different approach to fix our congestion problems by taking cars off the road and investing this $7 billion in public transit.”

News Release | TexPIRG | Transportation

United States Department of Transportation puts another brake on Houston’s proposed I-45 expansion 

The United States Department of Transportation has reportedly told Texas transportation officials on Wednesday to stop eminent domain activities around a proposed multi-billion highway widening project that would cut through downtown Houston. Estimated at $7.5 billion, the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP) would widen I-45 in three sections, impacting more than 70 miles of interstate, worsen Houston’s already poor air pollution, and displace more than 1,000 residents, businesses, multiple houses of worship and schools. 

Bay Scoggin, executive director of TexPIRG, issued the following statement:

 

“As one of the nation's worst highway boondoggles, the North Houston Highway Improvement Project would bring nothing but more cars and dirtier air to a city already drowning in traffic and pollution. The federal government’s recognition that Texas has not done its due diligence on a project which, by TxDOT's own admission, would displace thousands of Houstonians, is a crucial next step in the years-long advocacy against the widening of I-45. Let’s take a different approach to fix our congestion problems by taking cars off the road and investing this $7 billion in public transit.”

News Release | TexPIRG | Consumer Protection

2021-22 legislative session ends with progress on health care, transportation

As the state legislative session wraps up, the advocacy group TexPIRG says that while the Legislature delivered for Texans on prescription drug price transparency and the expansion of telehealth, on the whole, lawmakers didn’t do enough to help their constituents.

“Given the high-profile opportunities to  winterize our electrical grid, hold companies liable for mistreating consumers and prevent the spread of COVID-19, Texans expected better results from the Legislature,” said Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG director.

News Release | TexPIRG | Transportation

House resolution up in committee would transform Texas’ transportation infrastructure

The current transportation system in Texas has been designed, built and centered around the automobile, and it is a public health disaster. A resolution, HJR 109 (Walle), being heard in Tuesday’s House Transportation Committee, would propose a constitutional amendment asking voters to approve expansion of what TxDOT is allowed to do with gas tax revenues. Currently, administrators’ hands are tied, with just one use approved: more roads. Advocates say the expansion would dramatically reshape our state for cleaner and safer mobility. 

Pollution from cars, trucks and other vehicles cuts short an estimated 16,000 lives in Texas each year. Meanwhile, approximately 3,600 people die in vehicle crashes in Texas annually, while tens of thousands more are left severely injured. Yet each year, Americans drive more than 3.2 trillion miles – nearly 10,000 miles per person and more miles per capita than people almost anywhere else in the world. 

“Our current transportation system is wreaking havoc on our health and the health of our planet,” said TexPIRG State Director Bay Scoggin. “Decades of car-centered investment strategies have left us with inefficient and dangerous transportation infrastructure. This resolution is exactly the forward-thinking pro-public interest strategy we need to give Texans more and better options to get around.” 

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